Job cuts loom closer for Rio Tinto Pilbara operations

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Rio Tinto is poised to cut 170 jobs from iron ore operations in the Pilbara, with official announcements expected this week.

A document obtained by Australian Mining showed unions were informed of the upcoming structural change late last week.

Positions to be cut are mainly support roles, including 80 operator roles, 70 maintenance roles and 20 co-ordinators.

Unions will meet with Rio Tinto management today to discuss details of the redundancies, including the selection process, sites affected, as well as ways to mitigate the number of redundancies and adverse impacts.

A spokesperson for Rio Tinto said this morning that the company was not "commenting on speculation about role reductions".

"We are continuing to transform our business to ensure we remain globally competitive," he said.

"Market conditions remain tough and we continue to focus on reducing costs and improving productivity.”

It is understood that Rio Tinto will attempt to redeploy most roles that are made redundant, and will hold meetings with directly impacted employees over the coming weeks to discuss their options.

There are also another 300 roles to be axed from the Rio Tinto offices in Perth, but the date of the announcement has not been revealed.

Earlier in March the West Australian reported that Rio Tinto would cut up to 700 jobs from iron ore operations, and workers said Rio management had informed them that the company was looking to reduce operational expenditure by $1 billion.

One source said they expected announcements of the cuts to be made on March 15.

Recently it was shown that in 2015 Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh had endured a $1.3 million reduction from his total pay of $10.4 million in 2014, equating to a 12.4 per cent drop against Rio’s loss of 54 per cent from underlying profit in the same year.