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Selwyn Jones – AWU Gold Member

August 24, 2021

Selwyn Jones, an AWU Gold member for more than 30 years, tells how the union and its members helped save hundreds of Aussie jobs at Portland Aluminum.

“I’ve been in the union since I came to Alcoa in 1987, first the old Federation of Australian Ironworkers, then we merged with the AWU in the early 1990s.

I joined because Portland Aluminum had 100 power cent union membership then, and it’s still 100 per cent union. We are going through EBA negotiations now, and it’s a really strong site.

The AWU has always supported all of my colleagues and myself on issues such as welfare, pay, and the conditions we continue to enjoy today.

The union has also mounted important campaigns, all in the pursuit of Aussie jobs

I am a member of the Aluminium Industry Reference Group, which represents workers in smelters and foundries right across the nation.

We went to Canberra where we were instrumental in securing a five-year power deal for the Alcoa smelter – that’s something Alcoa paid us credit for, as we really helped support the site.

Prior to the last federal election we campaigned hard for no more closures of coal-fired power stations, and for affordable gas for Australian industries and workers.

And the union continues to campaign for changes to local procurement rules, after we saw Portland wind-tower jobs lost to overseas makers.

As site delegate, I am basically on call 24 hours a day. I tell all new workers their workplace delegate, myself, and other members will always be here for them.

We are here to support workers, protect their income, and the union has a huge focus on health and safety. For any dispute resolution, or situation where they need help, we will always be there for them.”

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