Mayors and unions hit out at Aurizon decision to cut rail jobs

Two Queensland mayors and various unions have slammed Aurizon’s decision to cut 480 jobs by 2017.

Yesterday the company announced the cuts as part of a major restructure which will see its South Townsville and Southbank facilities will be affected, with plans to close the workshops.

A number of jobs are expected to be cut from both facilities in June, with redundancies to continue until the sites close in 2017.

The cuts come after Aurizon announced flagged the need to cut costs by more than $230 million over the next two years, with $70 million earmarked to be slashed from labour costs.

Townsville mayor Jenny Hill was furious about the job cuts when speaking to AAP yesterday.

“I’m angry, I’m very angry,” she said.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale was also disappointed by Aurizon’s decision.

“If I could tell you exactly how I feel and what I’d like to do to people I don’t think you’d be able to publish it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rail, Bus and Tram Union secretary Owen Doogan said Aurizon’s announcement had come as a shock to communities.

“I’m absolutely stunned,” he told AAP

“It’s a shock to our members and will be to people in both these cities.

“They are right to be concerned about a company prepared to simply pull the plug on over a century of history in these important regional hubs, places Aurizon said they would never turn their back on, but now appear set to do.”

Doogan said union officials would be meeting to discuss workers options.

Aurizon said some workers would be redeployed or offered retraining opportunities.

It said all apprentices, trainees and graduates employed at affected locations will have training periods honoured.

“Aurizon understands the significant impact of the proposed changes on affected employees, and also local communities in which are people live and work,” the company said.

“No changes will be made until consultation has been completed with employees, and all feedback and suggestions from employees considered by the company.”

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