IN DECEMBER 1987, Cabinet received a briefing about job losses and further redundancies required at the Railway Workshops.
A shift in Departmental policy years earlier meant all new locomotives, carriages and wagons were constructed by private industry, leaving the Railway Workshops concentrated on the maintenance, repair and overhaul of suburban and long-distance coaches.
The recently-released Cabinet document reveals the scope and internal feeling at the yards.
A study of the Workshops by P.A. Consultants in 1983 and 1986 recommended the entire operation of the Workshops be rationalised to improve work practices and productivity levels.
In February 1987, details of the rationalisation programme for the Workshops were publicly announced, indicating the possible closure of seven internal shops and an anticipated staff reduction of 450 employees over two years.
Between July 1986 and December 1987 the staff level was reduced from 1386 to 1211 - saving about $7 million annually.
Cabinet was also briefed on the low morale within the Workshops "as a direct consequence of the major changes and staff reductions that have taken place and the uncertainty of the future”.