Fresh start turns sour: the human face of Aurizon's shock closure
FORMER Redbank workers who left their lives behind to start afresh in Rockhampton are the "real human face” of Aurizon's shock move to close its Bolsover St workshop, a union boss says.
About 29 workers thought they could restart their lives with a secure job in Rockhampton after Aurizon moved to shut its Redbank workshop at the expiry of its Queensland Rail maintenance contract, The Morning Bulletin reported in October 2013.
But Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Rohan Webb said just years on they are faced with more uncertainty.
"That's tragic for them,” Mr Webb said.
"They've moved their whole family up here for longevity. Then they get up here, a couple of years down the track, they don't have a job.
"(Some of them) have left their families behind and all that. That's the real human face of all this.”
Mr Webb believes Aurizon had "made a decision around a boardroom table” to wind down its mainte- nance operations, instead focusing on haulage.
An email Aurizon's executive vice president of operations Mike Carter sent employees, obtained by The Morning Bulletin, reveals the extent to which Aurizon is casualising its workforce "to respond to fluctuations in demand from our customers”.
Sarina, Townsville, Toowoomba, and Gladstone will deliver core mainte- nance tasks, but non-core maintenance will be out-sourced, the email says.
The email also states Aurizon is "reducing the number of permanent train drivers and engaging more casual employees and contractors” in central and north Queensland.