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115 more job losses at Aurizon signals end of era

DEATH KNELL: Aurizon workers at the Redbank workshops are dwindling with another 115 redundancies in June reducing numbers to just 120.
DEATH KNELL: Aurizon workers at the Redbank workshops are dwindling with another 115 redundancies in June reducing numbers to just 120.

A SAD end looms for the old Redbank Railway Workshops with a further 115 Aurizon staff made redundant in June.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union organiser Steve Franklin said the staffing levels had fallen from 1000 two years ago, down to just over 100, following 880 job losses.

The freight rail operator announced in May of last year of its plans "to reduce existing capacity across the two workshops in Townsville and Redbank because it exceeds current and forecast maintenance demand for freight operations by Aurizon".

That decision, the company said, would see "a small reduction in roles by June 2014; a further reduction by June 2015 with the expiry of the passenger contract performed for Queensland Rail; and then a progressive wind down of activities through to June 2017, when it is proposed the workshop will close."

An Aurizon spokesperson told the QT the recent redundancies were "a result of the expiry in June 2015 of passenger-related contracts that Aurizon had performed for Queensland Rail".

"Approximately 130 employees left in June," the spokesperson said.

"This included nine employees who were deployed to other roles in the company and six fixed-term employees.

"The remainder of employees received redundancy packages."

The spokesperson said around 120 employees remained at the Redbank site.

Mr Franklin said the further loss of jobs was "a further blow to local manufacturing in Ipswich".

"All the workplace agreements in Aurizon were squashed by the Fair Work Commission and people were moved more or less back onto the award," Mr Franklin said

"There is an ongoing appeal process. The redundancies are all in line with the closure of the shop but I suspect it has been brought forward."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said the former State Labor Government's decision to privatise rail assets was coming back to haunt Ipswich.

"It cost them the election (in 2012) and the consequences of this was that it cost people jobs and was devastating for our local community," he said.

"It was a terrible political error of judgment which had severe ramifications for the local economy and livelihoods of people in our region."

The Aurizon spokesperson said the company "actively seeks redeployment for affected employees" and "re-skilling, re-training and job seeking support to assist with career transition."

 

Topics:  aurizon, employment, job cuts




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