Dedicated Yarwun worker shown the door after 15 years


- 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

>> BREAKING COVERAGE: Anxious wait over for Yarwun workers, 50 axed

HE WAS being bombarded left right and centre to do more work at Rio Tinto Yarwun but now after being made redundant this fitter feels sorry for the workers left.

"Their workload is going to triple," the former Rio Tinto employee of more than 15 years said.

He said Yarwun would be the last place he worked for Rio Tinto after he and about 100 workers had been made redundant within the last month, the last round finishing on Tuesday.


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

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

The second round of redundancies at Rio Tinto Yarwun:

It was part of an organisational review with the aim to bring the plant back to profitability. A similar review was carried out at Queensland Alumina Limited in February.

The worker didn't want to be named to ensure he still received his redundancy pay out and didn't want to "bag out" the company that had employed him for so long.

"But Yarwun workers have been on edge for a long time and (management) just trickle fed us information which didn't help," he said.

"We knew after the redundancies at Queensland Alumina Limited that it would happen to us but we weren't told anything.

"It was basically word of mouth. The rumour was when it would happen it was going to be a massive chop."

The low alumina price has been the main pressure on the refinery to reduce costs as China increased production by more than three times over the past 10 years.

This has created an oversupply of alumina in the international market which when met with a reduced demand for aluminium saw the alumina price hit a 25-year-low last year.

It has recovered but only marginally since then and both Gladstone alumina refineries, Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun, have been operating at a loss.

He said Rio Tinto had been talking about the "worst case scenario" surrounding the alumina price for years but that didn't drive him to work harder.

"I operated on the basis of if you pay me to go to work I will go," he said.

For the employees left at Yarwun, it will be up to them to bring the plant back to profitability.

The plant's general manager Colin McGibbon is confident they have the team to do it but did say in a site notice released on Tuesday there is still a long road ahead.

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