Rio Tinto are set to reduce staff numbers from iron ore operations in Western Australia, with numbers estimated by media outlets to be anywhere between 700 to 800 employees.
Union representatives say rumours within the company point to a 10 per cent reduction of office-based staff.
A source within Rio Tinto told Australian Mining that redundancies were expected to be handed out sometime before March 9.
Last week the Sydney Morning Herald reported 700 jobs would be cut from the iron ore operations, while the West Australian said as many as 800 were on the chopping block according to the Western Mine Worker’s Alliance organiser Stephen Price.
Price told The West Australian that Rio had sent a letter to employee representatives last Thursday which warned that “significant layoffs were imminent”.
Rio Tinto have refused to comment on the speculation, but emphasised that the focus of Rio Tinto’s management of iron ore operations was cost-cutting, and that operations staff.
The company recently announced its intention to merge the copper and coal divisions, reducing Rio Tinto businesses to four main groups with diamond and minerals, aluminium, and iron ore divisions.
Uranium mined by subsidiary company Energy Resources Australia will join the diamonds and minerals group.
Rio Tinto’s cost cutting has gone to remove expenses across the board, including removal of catering services for staff in the Perth office.
Image: Christian Sprogoe