Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg, author of the letter published earlier this week, has said that the correspondence was an example of the open communication between Bechtel and the AMWU, and an effort to clearly outline how the process of hiring overseas workers will be managed.
“To date we have employed less than 30 expat specialist tradespeople into critical roles that we haven’t been able to fill within Australia,” Berg said.
“We will only source expats in these trades if we can’t meet our numbers locally in Australia.
“Bringing in expat specialists in these trades is our very last option and is hugely expensive for us to do.
Berg said he expects the international workers will be needed for a six to nine month period to top up the existing workforce, and will be kept to a minimum.
“Of our 11,000 strong workforce, the expat tradespeople we will employ from the UK and Ireland will represent a very small fraction of our workforce,” he said.
“Right now, we have more than 5000 local Gladstone residents working for us on these projects.
“It’s a bit hard to swallow the claim that we aren’t employing locals on these projects.
“Our preference is clearly to employ Australians first.”
Bechtel has recruited and trained local and FIFO apprentices in a range of trades, and last year was awarded Employer of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards.
Bechtel are still actively recruiting candidates with 3-5 years industry experience as special class welders, instrumentation, sheet metal workers, pipe fitters and electricians, and candidates can register at Bechtel's online jobs portal.
Image: Gladstone Observer