Job losses expected at Wongawilli mine

Job losses are expected at Wongawilli mine after Wollongong Coal’s decision to not to pursue plans for limited work at the site.

CFMEU south-western district vice-president Bob Timbs said the company has told employees production at the mine would cease.

‘‘In the near future it will be put onto full care and maintenance,’’ Mr Timbs said.

‘‘It’s been one step back from from care and maintenance anyhow and we’ve only had a skeletion crew up there. They were going to do some limited production. 

‘‘The company has reviewed its position and they no longer wish for that light production work to be done so they’ve made a decision to remove those people from their positions at Wongawilli and put the mine on full care and maintenance.’’

He said some redundancies were expected and the offer of voluntary redundancy have gone out.

‘‘They’ll close on Thursday and then there will be some decisions made and futher consultation with the company after that,’’ he said.

The company was also looking to tranfser some employees to other areas of operations.

Mr Timbs said the move affects at least 16 employees at the mine.

The mine has been struggling for some time with production severely reduced following a mine collapse that buried its single longwall shearer.

Earlier this year miners rejected a Wollongong Coal request that they take a pay cut, which included removing penalty rates, that could have seen some of them lose as 40 per cent out of their pay packet.

On top of that, in 2013, miners worked without pay for six weeks, to help the company - which was then known as Gujarat NRE Coking Coal - survive.

The latest news has upset miners at Wongawilli

‘‘Whenever there’s redundancies there’s quite clearly going to be anger at the company - and rightly so,’’ Mr Timbs said.

‘‘It’s certainly upsetting. From our point of view, over the last couple of years our members and the union have put in a lot of work into trying to keep the mine viable.

‘‘It’s crushing that it’s come to the point that it’s all been for a loss.’’

Wollongong Coal was contacted for comment.

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