READY TO FIGHT: Hundreds of Aurizon rail workers attended a union meeting at the Redbank facility which Aurizon plan to close.
READY TO FIGHT: Hundreds of Aurizon rail workers attended a union meeting at the Redbank facility which Aurizon plan to close. Claudia Baxter

Union won't back down in bid to keep Redbank workshops

THEY'RE disappointed, angry and frustrated - but they haven't given up.

A few hundred employees of the Aurizon Redbank workshops met with union officials at the site yesterday, vowing to oppose the dismantling of Ipswich's long association with the rail industry.

Aurizon's recent announcement that the Redbank site would be closed by 2017 has caused widespread anger among the 450-strong workforce.

Rail Tram and Bus Union secretary Owen Doogan said workers were shocked that Aurizon had given up on Redbank, despite the fact there was still work that could be secured for the region.

"Aurizon are not even looking for local work - they are not making a bid for the QR contract," Mr Doogan said.

"As far as they are concerned, even though Ipswich was the birthplace of rail in Queensland, they are just going to walk away because they are only interested in the black stuff.

"This decision affects the apprentices, workers with young families, and older workers who were going to retire in the next 10 years."

Mr Doogan said workers would be calling on the Ipswich community to support the campaign to convince Aurizon to reconsider its decision.

It seems they could face an uphill battle, with 42 staff to be axed from Redbank as early as next month.

More will follow when the company's QR maintenance contract expires next year. Aurizon has stated it is closing the workshops because they exceed the maintenance demand for freight operations.

It will instead centralise heavy maintenance and component overhaul work at Rockhampton.

A Redbank worker of 25 years said while there was an opportunity to relocate to Rockhampton, employees with families would find it difficult.

"For the older guys with two or three years until retirement, this really throws a spanner in the works," he said.