Aurizon workers feeling betrayed by job cutbacks

GRIM: Aurizon workers at the Redbank workshops listen to union delegates at a meeting yesterday. Aurizon will shed 450 workers by June 2015.
GRIM: Aurizon workers at the Redbank workshops listen to union delegates at a meeting yesterday. Aurizon will shed 450 workers by June 2015. Claudia Baxter

JOB cuts at Aurizon Redbank are a betrayal to the original promises of privatisation according to one workshop worker.

The employee, speaking to the Queensland Times on the condition of anonymity, said employees were suffering from low morale with many unsure how they were going to make ends meet.

Around 450 staff at the Redbank workshops are expected to lose their jobs by June next year, with the entire workshop to be closed by 2017.

Close to 150 workers facing mass job cuts next year rallied outside the workshops yesterday.

"It's not the most fun place to work at the moment. It's very down and sort of trying to look to the future and sort of see what's going to happen," the employee said.

"I've been here eight years now and we've been told that by June next year the majority of people will go, with a few to hang around until 2017."

He said Aurizon CEO Lance Hockridge had promised there wouldn't be job cuts prior.

"I clearly remember now when Lance Hockridge was out here, must have been 2010 just before the privatisation, and he came out in quote and said Aurizon's biggest problem will be finding enough people to work here, not about job cuts," he said.

"When you're given that sort of guarantee before the privatisation, you take a man at his word."

He said while some employees were holding out hope for work at the prospect of an under-construction QR rolling stock depot at Wulkuraka, it was still "pie in the sky stuff".

Rail, Train and Bus Union southern branch organiser Ross Schimke said the cuts would mean millions of dollars leaving the Ipswich economy.

"How much money will go out of the economy by losing 480 jobs. We're talking millions," he said.

The meeting saw a near unanimous decision by the workers to oppose Aurizon's move to terminate the existing enterprise agreements.

Topics:  asset sales aurizon privatisation redbank railway workshops

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