Former Aurizon employee feels for staff after cuts announced


A FORMER employee of Aurizon is currently shaking his head at the announcement of 800 job cuts from the company which are set to happen over the next three years.

The local worker, formally employed at the Rockhampton branch, said he worked for the company for 40 years but was offered a redundancy in July.

"A few months ago they offered certain people redundancies and now it's happening again," he said.

"It's such a horrible thing to go through when you hear that job cuts are in the near future because every worker is worried whether or not it's going to be them. There'll be some workers there that are only too happy to leave but there'll be workers there who need their jobs due to their financial obligations to their families and they're the ones you feel sorry for."

An Aurizon spokesman said yesterday 40 of those jobs would come from Rockhampton but Rail, Tram and Bus Union organiser Craig Allen fears it could be more than 60 jobs lost in Rockhampton.

The Morning Bulletin is currently seeking comment from the company on how this development will affect future plans to centralise operations in here.

UPDATE 5:30pm - UNION organiser Craig Allen says 62 jobs will be lost in Rockhampton as a result of Aurizon's decision.

"These are tough times for our members and we will be asking for meetings with Aurizon over the coming days and engage with members to discuss the current proposal," he said.

A company spokesman said the majority of cuts would be made without resorting to forced redundancies. 


EARLIER: RAIL freight giant Aurizon -- formerly QRNational -- intends to slash more than 800 jobs in the next three years, as it attempts to save almost $400 million between now and 2018.

On top of the cuts to staff, Aurizon plans to shut down Rockhampton's locomotive and wagons maintenance depots and heavy maintenance sites.

In total, these two changes will cost the jobs of 40 Rockhampton works.

Managing director and chief executive Lance Hockridge told the ASX the falling price for coal and other commodities was forcing the company to wield the knife.

"Subdued commodity prices, resulting in a lower volume and revenue growth outlook for Aurizon in the short to
medium-term, means that more than ever we need to ramp up our transformation program," he said.

The majority of these job cuts will be made without the company resorting to forced redundancies.

Aurizon also intends to shut down its Townsville wheelshop, costing a total of 36 jobs, although two of those are currently vacant.

Rockhampton and Redbank sites will pick up that slack.

Aurizon's $50 million investment in a "highly-automated" wheel machining shop in Central Queensland is expected to replace three separate wheelshop sites in Redbank, Rockhampton and Townsville.

The job losses amount to Aurizon cutting 16% of their 5000-strong workforce.

Aurizon told the ASX it intended to save between $310 million and $380 million.

The company began consulting with affected workers in Rockhampton and Townsville on Wednesday.

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