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Aurizon plans to shut down Rocky's maintenance depots

RAIL freight giant Aurizon intends to slash more than 800 jobs, or 16% of its workforce, over the next three years as it attempts to save almost $400 million.

An Aurizon spokesman said 40 of those jobs would come from Rockhampton but Rail, Tram and Bus Union organiser Craig Allen said they understood 62 jobs would be lost in Rockhampton.

On top of job cuts, the company also plans to shut down Rockhampton's locomotive and wagons maintenance depots and heavy maintenance sites.

Managing director and chief executive Lance Hockridge yesterday told the ASX the falling price of coal and other commodities was forcing the company to wield the knife.

"Subdued commodity prices, resulting in a lower volume and revenue growth outlook in the short to medium-term, means that more than ever we need to ramp up our transformation program," he said.

Aurizon also intends to shut down its Townsville wheelshop with Rockhampton and Redbank sites to pick up the slack.

Aurizon's $50 million investment in a "highly-automated" wheel machining shop in Central Queensland is expected to replace three separate wheelshop sites in Redbank, Rockhampton and Townsville.

The company began consulting with affected workers on Wednesday though a spokesman said the majority of cuts would be made without forced redundancies.

But Mr Allen said after public service job cuts by the Newman government and a downturn in the mining sector, Aurizon's decision was poorly timed and a case of greed gone stupid.

"We believe major companies that make money from our communities should have some social responsibility… I hold the same view for the mining companies," he said.

"For a 40-hour week equivalent, Lance Hockridge makes $2465 an hour.

"That is snout in the trough stuff and shows no social responsibility while our members are going home to their families wondering what their future is."

The RTBU will seek to have talks with Aurizon over the coming days and engage with members to discuss the current proposal.

Topics:  aurizon craig allen lance hockridge


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