Rio begins office jobs purge

The first round of Rio Tinto’s office-based job cuts has begun, with around 100 employees estimated to have been handed their notice.

The West Australian said affected individuals were told mostly before their shifts began yesterday.

Final figures on the number of employees to be cut have been subject to a great deal of conjecture, on which Rio Tinto spokespeople have refused to comment.

However, sources from within Rio Tinto in discussion with media outlets such as The West Australian report figures from 500 to 800 across 15 minesites, port and rail operations and the Perth head office.

An internal email from iron boss Andrew Harding, obtained by Westbusiness, said “change is never easy and I want to personally express my appreciation at the contribution that those leaving the business have made”.

 "I hope you will recognise that the process involved has been fair but is also one that is necessary.

"I would like to think we can all also recognise why these major changes are being made, as well as what we now need to do to refocus our attention."

The price of iron ore has now dropped below the $60 mark, to a record low of $59.30, providing a backdrop of urgency to the latest dash for cost savings within the iron ore business.

Last month a leaked memo from Harding revealed that cost cutting measures would include quarterly performance reviews of site superintendents, reductions to stores and warehousing, a recruitment freeze, and renegotiation of supply and service contracts.

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