Aurizon workshops to close, 300 jobs in doubt
TWENTY-NINE Mackay workers will be out of a job by December as Aurizon announced it was closing its local freight train depot.
It is part of a broader culling of 368 full-time positions across Central Queensland which has union representative Craig Allen saying the rail giant was putting the nail into the coffin of the region.
The announcement on Thursday revealed 62 positions in Mackay and Townsville would be gone when the freight train depot was closed as a result of completion of its contract with Wilmar Sugar.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union organiser Craig Allen revealed this was 29 in Mackay and 33 in Townsville.
"Everyone who works in Mackay as a shunter or train driver will lose their jobs by December," he said.
The move wouldn't be a shock to the Mackay workforce as the company sent out an employee update in February telling them there would most likely be job losses as it wasn't renewing its contract with Wilmar.
"In Rockhampton, Aurizon will completely close its workshops totalling about 181 employees who will be unemployed by the end of 2018," Mr Allen said.
Aurizon head of operations Mike Carter said the Aurizon business had changed significantly in recent years in line with changing market demand.
"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," he said.
"As a result we are proposing to change the composition of our train crew workforce in Central and North Queensland.
"This will involve engaging more contractors to provide greater flexibility for our customers."
The plan Aurizon released on Thursday had about 40 of 181 employees affected from Rockhampton being relocated to the Jilalan facility near Sarina.
The change would also see about 70 train crew contractor positions created between Gladstone and Blackwater and a further 20 at Coppabella.
Mr Allen said the company was trying to "fluff this by saying it was not so bad because it was creating casual jobs".
"But these are a small percentage of precarious employment opportunities," he said.
"They are ditching permanent full-time employment for casual workers.
"All Aurizon is doing is sh###ng on Central Queensland."