MORE than 300 workers at BAE Systems at Bandiana face an uncertain future after the defence and security company failed to win a new national contract to maintain military vehicles and weapons.
BAE gave the shock news to staff on Tuesday but neither the workers nor their union were told much else.
They don’t yet know which multi-national company or consortium will land the huge land materiel maintenance contract after BAE’s contract expires on June 30.
The new contractor’s identity will not be named for weeks but unions will lobby for it to hire the skilled and semi-skilled workers with BAE.
The winner of a separate national contract for warehousing and distribution is also unknown.
That job has also been managed at the Joint Logistics Unit (Victoria) at Bandiana under a long-term multimillion-dollar contract it inherited from the former Tenix in 2008.
A third Bandiana-based contract, to upgrade the M113 armoured personnel carrier fleet, expired last year, contributing to the loss of about 150 BAE jobs at Bandiana over several months.
Defence chiefs advertised the two national contracts last year after deciding to appoint a single service provider for each sector, instead of having different contracts for different bases.
The move was designed to achieve “efficient and effective delivery”.
Wodonga-based union organiser David Corben, of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, said the union had talked to BAE but knew little more than what the workers had been told.
“No one is talking, but we expect negotiations with the new contractor to take on the BAE people,” Mr Corben said.
“The union would like everyone to keep their jobs.”
BAE Systems is an Australian company owned by the British global group.
It has contracts valued at billions of dollars in Australia involving Navy destroyers, combat planes, armoured vehicles and smaller contracts.
The identities of other bidders for the contract have not been revealed.