Aurizon put on notice on job cuts

JOB FEARS: Hundreds are employed at the Redbank railway workshops.
JOB FEARS: Hundreds are employed at the Redbank railway workshops. Sarah Harvey

BUNDAMBA MP Jo-Ann Miller says workers at Redbank's railway workshops must be told where they stand in the wake of freight giant Aurizon's announcement that it will wring an extra $230 million from national operations between now and 2015.

Aurizon has announced that major sites in Rockhampton and Mackay are unlikely to face the axe but plans for Redbank have not been confirmed.

Aurizon, formerly QR National, released its plans through a presentation to the ASX yesterday.

It broke the $230 million figure into two areas - $130 million through increasing productivity and $100 million in cutting "support costs".

Under both, "labour" is shown as the largest target for saving money.

The announcement also warns of changes to its yards, terminals and maintenance sites.

When asked about plans for Redbank, a spokesman said "the cost reductions we've foreshadowed cover a range of measures to reduce spend and improved productivity over the next two years to 2015".

"Specific changes in the operational areas including yards, terminals and maintenance sites are yet to be confirmed," the spokesman said.

Ms Miller said it was "extremely important to the local area that no jobs are lost at Redbank".

"People are concerned about job security," she said.

"They have mortgages, cars to pay off and kids at school and they want to have the security that they have their pay packets at the end of each week.

"If any workers are put off at the Redbank railway workshops there would be an enormous multiplying effect in our local community.

"We've already seen this with the sackings and retrenchments of the LNP Government and we don't want any more."

An Aurizon spokesman said redundancy programs would be focused on corporate parts of the business. But the QT understands that Aurizon is looking at shutting down some of its 50 workshops and yards nationally.

The Redbank workshops employ hundreds of people and Ms Miller said it was "important that the workers at Redbank are advised about what is happening with their various sections".