INCENSED: Aurizon workers hold a lunch time meeting with union officials after 85 redundancies were announced.
INCENSED: Aurizon workers hold a lunch time meeting with union officials after 85 redundancies were announced. David Nielsen

Aurizon tells workers to take payout or relocate to Rocky

AURIZON staff were told they will have to move to Rockhampton to keep their jobs as more details of the company's redundancies emerged yesterday.

Union officials met with more than 130 angry Aurizon workers outside the rail freight company's Redbank site for an hour, furious at the ultimatum put to them at meetings this week.

Unions were notified via email of Aurizon's plans to make 85 staff at the Redbank workshops redundant, hours after staff had themselves notified them of the news.

Unions are meeting with Aurizon today to ascertain more details of the redundancy plan.

As staff were coming to grips with their future, Aurizon also revealed a further 11 facilities positions, including cleaners, brickies and workplace health and safety were made redundant throughout September, with one new position created.

But the choice given to railway staff to leave the city they have lived in and relocate to Rockhampton did not sit well.

Aurizon announced yesterday 29 jobs would be created at Rockhampton as the majority of its coal and freight business now operates out of central Queensland.

One staff member said: "We are not just frustrated, we are scared. We have got mortgages and families to feed."

AMWU assistant secretary Terry Bradley said workers were angry and furious at the nature of the announcements.

"After today's meeting, it is evident that workers are outraged and upset, especially as this comes off the back of Aurizon outsourcing about 30 maintenance positions last month," he said.

"Now they are targeting not just maintenance, but fitting, electricians and trimmer positions.

"This move highlights why unions fought strongly against rail privatisation. Privatisation has only brought job losses and cuts to maintenance and other services."

An Aurizon spokesperson said the company consulted with employees on proposed changes to its capability at Redbank in the first week of September.

"The objective is to provide these services more efficiently and to reduce the overall cost," the spokesperson said.

"All affected employees are able to express an interest in the voluntary redundancy scheme or seek redeployment."

The meeting became heated at times with staff remonstrating with union officials, believing they should have acted when the first redundancies were made last month.

Workers were also critical of Aurizon's chief executive Lance Hockridge, who received a 34 per cent pay rise last financial year on top of his already multi-million dollar salary.