RIO JOB CUTS: Anxious wait over for Yarwun workers, 50 axed

WHAT WE KNOW:

- At least 50 Yarwun workers have lost their jobs on Wednesday
- Yarwun's general manager Colin McGibbon sent out a site notice that said it would be the last of the redundancies
- The job cuts are part of the plant's restructure
- Rio Tinto's share price has dropped from $80 to $44 in five years

>>LATEST: Axed Yarwun worker 'feels sorry' for those left

THE final round of sackings has taken place at Rio Tinto Yarwun as about 50 people were given redundancies.

Shift workers were notified throughout the day, with those not on shift waiting anxiously for a phone call.

Rio Tinto Alcan at Yarwun will benefit from production at the South of Embley project near Weipa.
Rio Tinto Alcan at Yarwun will benefit from production at the South of Embley project near Weipa. Tom Huntley

Yarwun general manager Colin McGibbon sent out a site notice to workers, saying it would be the last of the redundancies in the plant's restructuring.

"This is the harsh reality we find our business in," he said.

RIO TINTO WOES |

FEB. 16 >>QAL workers axed as price plummets to 25-year low

FEB. 17 >>QAL job cuts 'not a good thing for Gladstone': leaders react

FEB. 18 >>Dedicated QAL worker shown door after more than 18 years

MAY. 11 >>Yarwun workers learn fate, axed in restructure

Employees and their families had a great night at the Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun 10 year celebration on site on Friday night.
Employees and their families had a great night at the Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun 10 year celebration on site on Friday night. Chrissy Harris

The cuts were expected as workers had been told when about 50 were handed redundancies on May 11, that another cut would happen within the next four weeks.

The sackings come as Rio Tinto puts pressure on Gladstone's alumina plants to stand on their own feet, as Rio Tinto's share price has dropped from $80 to $44 in five years.

The second round of redundancies at Rio Tinto Yarwun:

In December head of Rio Tinto aluminium, Alf Barrios, said the company would drive costs out of both Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun, which were losing money.

Rio Tinto has attributed this to a 25-year-low in alumina prices brought about by an oversupply from Chinese alumina producers.

To drive costs out of the business, Rio Tinto hired consultancy group McKinsey & Company to do a restructure of the plants with two rounds of redundancies handed out at QAL and the final round of sackings taking place at Yarwun.

The team that is left at the plant will be the workers Rio Tinto believes can bring it back to profitability.

But they are not out of the woods yet. In the site notice Mr McGibbon wrote "it has been a tough year and we still have a long road ahead of us".

"But we have an excellent team to take Yarwun forward."

But if Yarwun and QAL cannot return to profitability there is a possibility that Rio Tinto will close the refineries.

How you reacted on Facebook:

Damien D'Arcy To every man that loses his job within the industries, we also loose the women in the local community workforce that kept the town running, the kids at schools and the infants at kindies. The flow on affect is endless, this town must find a way to support itself in the next boom without relying so much on the multi nationals.

Clinton Martin Yep and I was 1 of them after 10 years with rio. 😢

Natalie Newton ...George was with Rio for 18 years and they didn't give a crap!

Bernie Johnson "Poor buggers" but everyone knew it was coming sadly.

Paul Christopher Ouch! Very sad for ppl concerned! Sad for Gladstone!

Glenn Woods Got the tap on the shoulder after 11+ years there. Gone. Yep Clinton Martin, 2 off each crew and seems to be the highest earners. I suppose they have to do what is required to keep running. I am actually feeling relieved.

Carmen Groat So bizarre to target long term employees and as you said higher earners.. That would cost a fortune in redundancy and work knowledge! You'd think they wld go for the new ones on less dollars to pay less out in redundancy!

Paul McKiernan 22 yrs for me at Rio. Oh well there is life outside of Rio Tinto



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