RALLY DAY: Aurizon workers devastated about losing their jobs have gathered out the front of the company's Bolsover St workshop.
RALLY DAY: Aurizon workers devastated about losing their jobs have gathered out the front of the company's Bolsover St workshop. Luke Mortimer

'Angry, empty': Axed Rocky worker left choking back tears

A FAMILY that needs feeding and a mortgage that needs paying is what left one Aurizon worker choking back tears out the front of Aurizon's workshop.

Matt*, who asked not to be named, along with other Aurizon workers who claim the company is stopping them talking to media, has no idea where to look for a new job after more than 30 years at Aurizon's Bolsover St workshop.

"I've got a house, a mortgage," he said.

"I've got a family. Who knows what will happen from here?"

Yesterday Aurizon management told 181 workers they would lose their job when the company closes its Rockhampton workshop by the end of next year while another 126 workers across Central Queensland depots at Callemondah, Bluff, and Stanwell would also lose their job.

Matt, who followed his dad into the rail industry aged 16 with an apprenticeship at the Bolsover St workshop, said the shock announcement has turned his life, and the lives of many of his work mates, upside down.

He said Aurizon gave him and other workers false home when it promised to "centralise" its maintenance in Rockhampton in 2014.

"I'm here. I've got a family in this town. I've been here all my life," he said.

"But we've also got blokes who've come up from Redbank when they were sacked. They said this would be the hub. They said there would be at least 15 years work here.

"You feel for them blokes who picked up their lives, left their homes, dropped everything to move here."

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State (AMWU) State Secretary Rohan Webb told The Morning Bulletin it is keeping an eye on the psychological state of its members.

"We've got to understand the mental health of our workers," he said.

"Someone who has worked here for 40 years, and they've no longer got a job anymore. They've got a family. They've got kids at school. We don't know what the psychological damage could be.

But Mr Webb said the union could only "point workers in the right direction" for support and there was "not a great deal we can do" beyond it.

"That's all we can do from an organisational point of view," he said.

But it is cold comfort for Matt who doesn't know what will happen next.

"I feel angry, empty, what do you do?"



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