More than 200 and perhaps even 300 jobs will go at the Appin coal mine, workers have been told at the South32 colliery.
In news that will send shockwaves through the mining workforce before Christmas, Appin employees and contractors have been told in a series of shift meetings held late this week that the redundancy process is seeking major job cuts.
It is understood the workforce has until January 5 to nominate for voluntary redundancies, after which they may be forced.
Some of the 200-plus will be from the permanent workforce while employees from contract mining firms which service Appin will make up the rest. Some have already made the decision to go, having lost confidence in the future at Appin.
This will be the third major restructure at the Appin operation in the past two years.
It follows the departure of respected mine manager Mal Waterfall, as well as gas drainage experts, in a heavy turnover of senior staff.
Late on Friday a South32 spokeswoman said no final decision had been made about how many would go.
“We are running an expression of interest process for voluntary redundancy to gauge the interest among our employees,” she said.
“This expression of interest process will be used to inform future planning.”
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union district vice-president Bob Timbs said the company was bound to consult with the union before major changes.
“They should try and hang on as many people as possible that are experienced at working that mine,” Mr Timbs said. “We’ll be saying you should be doing the right thing by the community, by the Illawarra, by the workforce, and not having any forced redundancies.”
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