Goonyella job cuts under scrutiny

Redundancies at the Peabody mine have come under scrutiny in court, with the CFMEU warning of the potential for full-time employees to be replaced with cheaper contractors.

This week the CFMEU have taken Peabody to the Federal Fair Work court in Sydney, following the4 early June announcement that Peabody would shed 35-40 per cent of staff from the North Goonyella mine.

CFMEU alleged that Peabody have not explained why those workers need to be fired, and that there has been no consultation with workers about the details of those redundancies.

Peabody said the change to production is designed to lower costs, improve cash flows and increase productivity.

The company expects production at the mine to decline to approximately 2.3 million tonnes this year from originally projected 2015 production levels of 3 million tonnes.

CFMEU Queensland mining and energy president Stephen Smyth said there needed to be more transparency about why the company needed to lay off some 200 workers.

"The number [of redundancies] they give is a 'rubbery' number. We don't think it's right," Smyth said.

"What they do sometimes is call for redundancy expressions of interest for say, 66 positions and they might get 55.

"They use it as a way to get rid of permanent workers, which they refill with cheaper labour hire and contractors."

Smyth said workers would only receive a ball-park figure of what they could expect to receive if they accept a voluntary redundancy, but would not receive specific details until after they made an expression of interest.

Peabody said the company would meet the requirements of the EBA, but did not comment on the court case.

In NSW Peabody Energy has also announced it will cut production and jobs from its Metropolitan Mine.

The company confirmed the mine will transition to a five-day production schedule over the next month, meaning employee and contractor reductions of 20-25 per cent.

“These actions are part of a plan to increase productivity, improve cash flows and optimize production at Peabody’s Australia operations given current market conditions,” Peabody said.

CFMEU south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs said the cuts could lead to 70-80 job losses.

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