Hail Creek Mine, south west of Mackay.
Hail Creek Mine, south west of Mackay. Contributed

Hail Creek workers face pay cuts

WORKERS at Rio Tinto's Hail Creek mine are facing pay cuts in another wave of cost-saving measures from the mining company.

Hail Creek workers employed by WorkPac, a labour hire company contracted by Rio Tinto, received a letter yesterday which stated their pay would be cut in a bid to reduce costs.

In the letter, which Australian Regional Media obtained, the contracted company told employees "…WorkPac must reduce its current costs to the client (Rio Tinto) as an alternative to losing our commercial contract and/or contributing to the eventual demise of the (Hail Creek mine) itself".

WorkPac said it had "no other choice" but to reduce the hourly pay rate.

"Please be assured that WorkPac has not made this decision lightly … but in reflection this method appeared to be the only viable alternative that could keep you in employment at the moment."

WorkPac workers are not the only Hail Creek employees facing pay cuts.

Mining union CFMEU district president Steve Smyth said Rio Tinto had put forward a proposal to its employees regarding pay cuts as well. He said it was still being negotiated.

A Rio Tinto spokesman said the company was facing challenges.

"Like others in the Australian coal mining industry, Rio Tinto is facing the challenge of lower prices," the spokesman said. "We are working to improve productivity and reduce costs across our mines."

WorkPac has not returned Australian Regional Media's phone calls.