One of the final contenders for the federal government’s SEA 5000 Future Frigates project has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with key Australian trade unions in Canberra.
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Signatories to the agreement include Fincantieri, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Professionals Australia and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
The latest signing follows Ficantieri and it's subsidiary CETENA signing an MoU earlier this month with the Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA).
Fincantieri said this latest MoU signals the intent of itself and the unions to work together to ensure the Future Frigate SEA 5000 project produces the best possible naval vessel for the Australian Navy, but also helps to build a sovereign shipbuilding capability, revitalise Australia’s manufacturing industry and secure highly-skilled jobs for the future.
Fincantieri Australia chairman Dario Deste said the once-in-a-generation opportunity offered by SEA 5000.
According to Deste, SEA 5000 is a once in a generation naval shipbuilding project that represents a unique opportunity for Australia’s manufacturing industry.
"The significance of the project cannot be over-stated and will inject hundreds of new opportunities for defence and advanced manufacturers across the supply chain, while also creating new skilled jobs,' Deste said.
Deste said that the MoU reflects Fincantieri’s long-term industrial relations record and collaboration with trade unions across its shipbuilding portfolio to deliver results for its customers.
"With 20 shipyards across the world, our relationships with unions and our workers are a key factor in our success. We are very keen to ensure that our engagement with key unions is a contributing factor to the success of the future frigates project," he said.
"If selected by the federal government we will actively work with the unions to address and solve issues through an ongoing communications process, which is reflected in the agreement we have committed to. A stable industrial relations environment is a key component for project success and the MoU we have signed will help meet this objective."
Fincantieri has offered its FREMM frigate for the project, while competitor BAE Systems has put forward a variant of the Type 26 and Navantia has offered the F-5000. The successful builder will design, build and sustain nine frigates to replace the ageing Anzac Class frigates.
A decision on the project is expected to be made next month. All nine frigates will be built in South Australia.