Workers met on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss options in the wake of Aurizon's decision to cut 29 jobs from the Mackay region.
Workers met on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss options in the wake of Aurizon's decision to cut 29 jobs from the Mackay region. Jacob Miley

Aurizon explains plan behind new jobs in CQ

CASUAL workers are already being sought by rail company Aurizon, despite the company telling 368 Central Queensland employees they will be out of the job by the end of the year.

It comes as the company announced it was closing its local freight train depot at the cost of 29 full-time workers as its contract with Wilmar Sugar ends in December.

But the closure of the depot that will see Mackay workers lose their job, will be another kick in the guts to the community, union officials said at a gathering for workers late yesterday.

Casual positions are already being advertised on recruitment websites including Seek for Aurizon's Jilalan depot, near Sarina, for jobs that could be filled by workers who are facing full-time cuts, they say.

 

Many Aurizon workers turned out to discuss the changes to workforce in central Queensland.
Many Aurizon workers turned out to discuss the changes to workforce in central Queensland. Jacob Miley

"They are actively already trying to engage these (new) employees while we still have permanent employees on the books,"Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees State Organiser Mick Mckitrick said.

But an Aurizon spokesperson defended the move, explaining the casual locomotive driver positions advertised for Jilalan were in response to increased variability in customer demand for rail services in that area.

Aurizon also proposes to engage an additional 20-contractor train crew for the Coppabella depot near Moranbah in central Queensland to meet increased customer demand on the Goonyella and Newlands Coal Systems.

 

Aurizon are already looking for casual staff.
Aurizon are already looking for casual staff. Jacob Miley

The spokesperson said the changes gave the company 'increased flexibility' in its crewing model.

"This approach provides the company with greater capability to respond to fluctuating demand... the model of using a mix of permanent employees and contractors is fairly standard in the industries that Aurizon operates in."

"We understand it is difficult for employees who are affected by these proposed changes, and we will be working with them to understand their individual circumstances. They will be offered opportunities for retraining, redeployment or redundancies. Employees have been provided with a long-lead time to consider the options available to them."

 

Union representatives Mick Mckitrick and Bruce Mackie address the workers.
Union representatives Mick Mckitrick and Bruce Mackie address the workers. Jacob Miley

Over the past two days, workers have met with union officials to discuss their options - whether they should accept the redundancies on offer from Aurizon, or dig their heels in. Tram and Bus Union Queensland State President Central Division Organiser Mackay Bruce Mackie said the positions had "been around for generations".

"Some of the people in these jobs are second generation employees here in Mackay, who are being kicked to the kerbside in favour of unstable employment options that are completely de-stabilising the industry."

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert, who was at the meeting yesterday alongside Mirani MP Jim Pierce, slammed the whole situation as "disgraceful" and "another example of large companies coming into Queensland and ripping the guts out of our communities".

Mrs Gilbert said she would take the concerns of the people to the Premier, at State Parliament next week.



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