Unionists against logging of old growth forests

Issue 

The statement below is being circulated for signatures in the union movement. Its initial sponsors (as individuals) are Ian Thompson, secretary of the WA branch of the Community and Public Sector Union, Glenn Ferguson, secretary of the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union WA branch, Christine Milne, state councillor of the WA Amalgamated Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, and Derek Forster, president of the WA branch of the Electrical Trades Union.

We, as active unionists, strongly believe that:

  • Protection of the environment is in workers' interests.

  • Policies for environmental protection, such as developing a timber industry based on tree crops rather than on logging old-growth forests, can provide more, (and more secure) jobs than the current environmentally destructive policies.

We recognise that the timber industry employers, like Bunnings and Whittakers, have shown that they care about their profits, not timber workers' lives, wages and conditions, or job security. The state government, which has cut thousands of jobs, is whipping up hysteria over possible job losses to support their business mates. The federal government's attempts at "compromise", meanwhile, will leave many of the forests unprotected and job security in doubt.

Conservationists and timber industry workers should work together to grow more trees. There are 800,000 hectares of cleared land in the south-west suitable for growing trees. Already there are 125,000 hectares of plantations in the ground, with another 10,000 hectares being planted every year.

We call on all unionists to support:

1) A timber industry based on agroforestry and timber plantations.

2) An immediate end to all logging in all areas of uncut jarrah and karri forest.

3) Establishment of a job security fund for the redeployment and retraining expenses of workers in the timber industry.

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