Job cuts uncertainty becomes bargaining chip for Hastings Deering

Hastings Deering staff are staring down the barrel of pay cuts up to 25 per cent, according to union representatives.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Rohan Webb said the company, which services cat mobile plant equipment in most coal mines in the Bowen Basin, has stopped negotiations with the union and will put two new agreements to the vote, despite dissatisfaction with the negotiations process.

Webb said Hastings Deering was attempting to force workers to accept sub-standard conditions at a time of fear and uncertainty about employment with the company.

Hastings Deering laid off 400 workers from Bowen Basin workshops last July, and 200 workers in June 2013.

The ABC reported 40 managers and office staff in Rockhampton and Mackay lost their jobs last week.

The AMWU said the new agreements will remove minesite allowances and reduce other allowances from workers’ pay, which could amount to a 25 per cent cut from current pay.

Last month Hastings Deering subsidiary Caltrac opened a workshop expansion in New Caledonia, with claims the nickel mining industry was experiencing a surge of spending on infrastructure and maintenance.

Hastings Deering said giving employees notice to vote yesterday was "putting to rest claims by the AMWU that the company had walked away from enterprise bargaining negotiations."

Hastings Deering managing director Dean Mehmet said the proposed wage rates provided a "highly competitive package that is still above most of it's competitors," but also said the company had to be competitive.

"We have engaged employees and their representatives extensively through this process and we are doing our absolute best for them," he said.

"Terms for the proposed agreement were developed in consultation with all stake holders, including employee representatives."

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