The remaining 550 workers at the Queensland Nickel refinery have been informed this afternoon that they will be unceremoniously sacked on Friday at 5pm.
Queensland Nickel administrators FTI Consulting informed staff of their termination, stressing that this situation was unavoidable because FTI no longer had control of the Yabulu Refinery.
Earlier this week Queensland Nickel joint venture director Clive Mensink replaced Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd with another company, Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd (QNS), as the manager of the refinery.
The move effectively removed FTI’s control of the asset.
“Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd, the newly appointed manager of the Refinery, may offer current employees of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd employment but the Administrators are currently unaware of the terms or timing of those offers,” a statement from FTI said.
“The Administrators have impressed on Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd the urgency of the situation and the need to quickly resolve the ongoing employment of staff.
“At this time the Administrators are uncertain as to the status of future employment offers by Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd.
“The terminations of employment and uncertainty regarding the new offers is a deeply regrettable situation, although unavoidable given the Administrators no longer have operational control of the Refinery.”
It is understood the refinery no longer has an environmental authority to operate, although the Courier Mail reported that the Department of Environment has received application to transfer the authority to QNS.
Australian Workers’ Union branch secretary Ben Swan said the workers were unlikely to be paid redundancy or entitlements, and would become creditors of Queensland Nickel like the other 237 workers fired in January.
Swan pointed out that the terminations were not the fault of FTI Consulting.
“They’re doing what they have to because Queensland Nickel Sales has not stepped in to do what they said they would do,” he said.