'High-paid Aurizon executives ruin workers' careers'
FORMER railway workshop apprentice and current Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne says Aurizon's job cut announcement today is nothing but a betrayal.
In speaking with The Morning Bulletin, the once electrical apprentice who started his working life in a railway workshop like the ones on Bolsover St, said he condemned the announcement which will have a severe impact on over 200 families in Central Queensland.
"This is a massive slap in the face to the people of Central Queensland," he said.
"This is a city that has had a rail workshop and railway involvement at this scale since 1870.
"Today we see a complete and utter wipe out to that.
"These last 170-odd jobs at the workshop are the last of what was once a rail city.
"Aurizon, a company formed essentially of taxpayers investment, has shown absolutely no regard for regional economies and particularly Central Queensland and Rockhampton.
"It's absolutely dreadful this company has gone down this path."
He said Aurizon's senior executives have treated Rockhampton with contempt.
"Andrew Harding, Aurizon's chief executive officer and managing director, receives a base salary of $1.7 million," Mr Byrne said.
"On top of this he receives short and long-term incentives that can boost his annual remuneration to more than $6 million."
He said he found it reprehensible that individuals on massive salaries can play with peoples' lives in such a way.
"This decision will destroy careers and prospects for so many people in our community," Mr Byrne said.
"I condemn them utterly for their complete lack of corporate social responsibility and failure to support our city."
He said Aurizon in February this year announced a 21% increase to underlying earnings before interest and tax of $488 million for the half year and total revenue of $1.8 billion.
Mr Byrne said when it published its financial results, the company predicted underlying earnings before interest and tax of between $900 and $950 million for the full year.
"This is clearly not a company that is failing or struggling to make a dollar," he said.
Mr Byrne said since privatisation the Rockhampton workshop workforce had fallen from 550 to 170 prior to further job cuts announced today.