Around 50 contractors at Mt Arthur coal mine have been laid-off as a truck maintenance program is taking longer to complete than expected.
The contract operators were advised on Tuesday that due to the delay in 10 haul trucks being rebuilt, they would be out of work for weeks.
The workers were employed by Tessa Mining, a subsidiary of labour hire and recruitment company, SKILLED.
CFMEU district president Peter Jordan said the union had to take BHP at its word that it would rehire affected workers once the trucks were ready for operation.
‘‘They have indicated there will be a delay of three or four weeks until they have rebuilt those trucks. They will then put those trucks back into service and require the same workers,’’ Jordan said.
Continuing its long-standing practice, BHP would not divulge the specific number of people that had been cut.
“BHP Billiton Coal continues to focus on productivity and reducing costs to ensure it remains competitive in the current environment of sustained lower commodity prices and a strong Australian dollar,” a spokeswoman said.
The miner is also targeting job cuts at its three Illawarra coal mines, as well as across its other commodity businesses.
The staff had been working on a project that is winding down.
The company’s Worsley alumina plant in Western Australia is also a target as BHP continues to review ways of improving its bottom line.