46 Hunter coal train drivers jobs lost to weakening coal market: Pacific National

Pacific National has been accused of being insincere following the news that 46 Hunter coal train drivers will lose their jobs as the company advertises for casual drivers to work.

The latest redundancies were announced on January 12 to its 300-strong workforce at its Newcastle depot, citing a loss of contracted haulage into the Port of Newcastle and a downturn in the coal market.

It comes less than two years after 45 jobs were lost, including 30 Hunter coal train drivers and 15 administration and support positions.

According to the union, the company had reported the redundancies as a result of the weak coal market after major customers began decreasing their haulage loads.

“This opinion has been formed due to the retrenchments occurring at the same time as the company has been and continue to actively advertise for casual train crew to work through a labour hire company,” the union said in a statement.

A Pacific National spokesman has defended the job cuts announcement, stating that the company could not secure more work to cover the downturn.

“Much has been done to secure additional contracted volumes in order to bridge the expected reduction, however the full amount has not yet been recovered. We are working through the required reductions with our employees and their representatives through a voluntary redundancy process,” the spokesman said.

Coal prices have slumped by a third to a decade low of around $US 75 amid slowing Chinese growth and productivity. 

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