Aurizon workers.
Aurizon workers. David Nielsen

Cringeworthy moment Rocky workers were axed: Worker tells all

THE "BIGGEST kick in the guts" unfolded in the lunchroom where Aurizon's Rockhampton workers were yesterday told their jobs were gone, a worker said.

An offer to relocate 40 of 181 workers who will lose their jobs when Aurizon shuts its Bolsover St workshop showed what little Aurizon's head honchos knew about those who worked in our city all their lives.

On top of the Rockhampton workers, 126 at depots at Bluff, Gladstone, and Stanwell will also lose their jobs in Aurizon's proposed restructure to be rolled out by the end of next year.

But the worker, Jeff (whose asked to remain anonymous), has told of a cringeworthy attempt by a "bloke high up the ladder" to relate to the workers as he delivered the news.

"He was trying to say he lived in this town for a couple of years and he knows what it's like," he said.

"What would he know about living in this town for generations?"

Jeff, a single dad who raises his children with his ex-partner in Rockhampton, said there was no way he could leave with his entire family in Rockhampton.

"I've got deep roots in this town," he said.

"My family has lived here for over 100 years."

Aurizon's head of operations Michael Carter said the changes were needed to keep the business competitive.

Mr Carter said both technology and efficiencies found in its workshops unravelled plans to expand its Rockhampton workshop.

"What's actually happened over the last few years is increased technology and efficiency on our train operations has meant there is nowhere near as much work needed at the workshop," he said.

"We are always trying to look at what's the best decision for our business at the time."

Auziron's Mike Carter.
Auziron's Mike Carter. Matty Holdsworth

Mr Carter said the fluctuating month-to-month demands of its customers meant it was paying for a workforce it did not need.

"What we need to do is try and make adjustments to our workforce so that we've got people available when it (work) goes up, and we cannot need to use them (we don't have people) when it goes down," he said.

"Aurizon needs to continue to change in line with what our customers need if we are to remain competitive. Historically, most of our train crew have been permanent full-time employees and we have been unable to match fluctuations in weekly and monthly demand in train haulage services from coal customers or contract wins or losses."

Jeff said "a lot of the blokes feel betrayed" as Aurizon just years ago promised job security with a pivot to "centralising" its maintenance work in Rockhampton.

"I've just got re-evaluate my life," he said.

"There's not a hell of a lot of jobs going on around Rockhampton.

"The only reason why they are getting rid of us is because they can get the work done cheaper elsewhere."

Uncertainty about what the future holds has consumed Aurizon's workers so much Jeff even spoke about it to a colleague yesterday before Aurizon bosses arrived to tell workers the news.

"He said I've lived here all my life and I've worked here all my life, so how am I going to find a bloody job?" he said.

"He said he feels sad about having to make a decision like this, yeah, well, I bet he will still sleep well tonight, because he's getting his money."

Jeff said despite watching his workshop "dwindle away" to half its original size since it was sold off by the Bligh government about eight years ago, he has no idea what work he will move onto.

"They come out with statements saying we do really care about you, but if they did, they wouldn't be getting rid of you," Jeff said.

"It's not you, it's just business.

"It's nothing personal."



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