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QAL workers in anxious 11 day wait to hear of job losses

UPDATE 

WORKERS at QAL will have to wait at least 11 more days to find out whether their positions are secure. 

Management is still reluctant to reveal how many jobs are on the line however The Observer understands 70 is an accurate expectation.

QAL has confirmed it will make a formal announcement during the week of March 21.

LISTEN: Reporter Helen Spelitis explains;


YESTERDAY

UPDATE: 4pm:

Union delegates representing QAL workers were in talks for most of the day with the site's management, AMWU's Phil Golby said.

Mr Golby said there is no word yet on how many workers were likely to be made redundant.

However, at this point, 70 is his best estimate.

>> READ: Gladstone dad desperate for job: 'I'd work on a s--- farm'

That's on top of 60 to 80 support staff made redundant last month.

Mr Golby says he understands the situation QAL is facing and the unions are working towards ensuring there are no forced redundancies.

"We have seen a company decide they are going to make their workforce smaller and they need to be able to make up their own minds about how that happens," Mr Golby said. 

Reporter Helen Spelitis explains how "front line" workers are affected

EARLIER: 

MARCH will be an anxious month for many workers at QAL following an announcement today that more jobs will go.

Management has been tight-lipped on the number of positions facing the axe at one of the town's biggest employers, but has confirmed frontline positions are now included in the review targeting cost-cutting.

Workers will find out at the end of the month whether or not they still have a job.

Union representatives from the ETU, AMWU and AWU met with management today to begin the consultation process as QAL facing increasing market pressures. 

Union delegates have been in talks for most of the day with QAL management, AMWU's Phil Golby says.

Tthere's no official word on how many jobs will go in this round of redundancies, however Mr Golby said, at this point, 70 is the best estimate.

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In February 60 to 80 people were made redundant from QAL following an announcement the business would go through "a review".

At the time QAL general manager Mike Dunstan hoped further job losses would happen through "natural attrition".

However today a QAL spokesman confirmed that was no longer the company's view and that more cost cutting was needed to counteract "the challenging market conditions facing the aluminium industry."

In a site notice issued to employees today General Manager Mike Dunstan said he understood if workers found the announcement "unsettling".

The site notice given to QAL workers.
The site notice given to QAL workers.

"This is a difficult but necessary decision," Mr Dunstan wrote.

"We had hoped time was on our side to achieve reductions through natural attrition but QAL is a business in distress so we must act quickly," the notice went on.

"Furthermore the organisational review has created uncertainty within the workforce with is not helpful."

Mr Golby said he understood the position QAL was facing and the unions are working towards ensuring there were no forced redundancies.

"We have seen a company decide they are going to make their workforce smaller and they need to be able to make up their own minds about how that happens," Mr Golby said. 

Today's announcement, targeting operational staff, will not affect those in support roles impacted by February's job cuts.

Despite recent rumours that QAL hired about 40 new staff following February's job losses, the company has confirmed a recruitment freeze has been in place since November and those claims are baseless.

While shocking, the news would not come as a surprise for workers who were warned in early January that, amid record low commodity prices, redundancies were on on the table. 

A similar company review is ongoing at Yarwun, but no announcements on redundancies have been made yet.  

More to come ...

RELATED: Workers axed as alumina price plummets to 25-year-low 

NEED TO TALK? Call Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Follow this reporter on Twitter @helenspelitis

Topics:  alumina, editors picks, gladstone, qal, rio tinto




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