Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Aurizon Closure Plans Redbank & Townsville

Aurizon’s decision to shut down Redbank and Townsville railway workshops has stunned many workers across its operations. They’re both angry and concerned about the implications for their future.

Out of the blue Aurizon announced its decision to shut down these two workshops to shocked workforces, at the same time as informing the Stock Market (ASX).

Aurizon has advised that it is its intention to close Redbank completely (with the loss of about 450 jobs) by June 2017, with an intention to make 42 workers surplus to requirements by the end of June, this year.

Aurizon also advised that Townsville will be shut down completely by June 2016, with 40 of the 160 workforce (including labour hire) going by the end of June this year. They have also advised that they will be a re-organisation at Stuart and advised the RTBU verbally that there will be a net loss of two jobs there, but this will be by declaring 17 positions surplus and creating 15 new jobs. Naturally this could have a significant negative impact on a lot of workers.

The company has also verbally advised the RTBU that they will not be participating in the renewal of contracts with Queensland Rail when they expire; in Townsville’s case, June 2014 and Redbank in June 2015.

It is the intention of Aurizon to increase its workforce at what would be their last Workshop, Rockhampton, but this would be miniscule in comparison with the proposed job losses.

Carving out so many jobs immediately then completely shutting down these once iconic facilities in Redbank and Townsville would leave a scar in their communities long after they go. Even outside of Aurizon, people in Townsville and the broader Ipswich community would find it hard to think of a future without a local railway workshop.

The RTBU is opposed to the closedown and do not accept this as a fait-accompli, by any means.

Members throughout Aurizon have every right to be concerned about a company prepared to simply pull the plug on over a century of history in these important regional hubs – places Aurizon said they would never turn their back on.

The RTBU State Executive will be meeting early next week to discuss this and Aurizon will be meeting with representatives from our Workshops Divisional Committee next Thursday. Meetings with affected members are also being arranged and a further report will be provided to members thereafter.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary
Queensland Branch