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Employer cuts worker pay due to faulty equipment

Whyalla Steelworks
Whyalla Steelworks

Wages will be reduced for up to 1100 employees after mineral processing facilities stopped working properly.

A subsidiary of GFG Alliance recently confirmed its Whyalla Steelworks workforce will receive up to 30 per cent pay cuts due to major blast furnace issues.

The furnace was turned off for routine maintenance back in mid-March 2024. However, workers let molten metal cool too much, causing it to harden inside. This delayed 12 out of 18 wind tuyeres from being brought back online, reducing steel pouring capacity.

As a result most of the 1100 crew members will be temporarily moved to eight-hour weekday rosters, from 9am to 5pm. Contractors and labour hire employees have either been suspended or not hired until the plant is operational. Previous rosters included 12-hour day or night shifts.

Liberty Primary Steel revealed restarting the tuyeres requires taking “two steps forward” and “one step back”.

“You have to take the furnace offline for a short period of time to bring that wind tuyere back online, and by doing that you slightly chill the furnace again, so it is that sort of one step back and then when that extra wind tuyere comes on it is the extra two steps forward,” managing director Tony Swiericzuk said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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