Boyne Smelters general manager operations Joe Rea announced job cuts due to increased power prices.
Boyne Smelters general manager operations Joe Rea announced job cuts due to increased power prices. Mike Richards GLA200117bsljobs

'Havoc': Sackings begin as Smelter worker given shock news

A CONTRACTOR who felt optimistic about his job at Boyne Smelter Limited received the news he had dreaded for a week today.

By Wednesday he'll be unemployed.

After two years on site at the aluminium refinery, employed through Manpower, the worker has lost his job as BSL cuts its workforce following pressure from rising electricity costs.

The call came quicker than he expected, despite being told last week to "be ready" because his job could be on the line.

"We thought voluntary redundancies would be looked at first, but it seems they've gone with the approach at looking at the contractors first," he said.

Today the worker, who wanted to remain anonymous to protect future job opportunities, has applied for more than 50 jobs.

After living in Boyne Island for more than three years, he and his partner don't want to leave the region, but he fears they might not have a choice.

"I'm not feeling confident in (job opportunities) in Gladstone, I think we'll have to move away," he said.

"It's certainly played some havoc on our mental state ... my partner is pretty stressed.

"It's a rough time ... and (these job losses) don't make it any easier for the local blokes who are still there doing their jobs."

The aluminium smelter's general manager Joe Rea announced on January 19 jobs could be lost if they couldn't strike a deal to replace its position on the spot market for 15% of its power.

TIMELINE | SEE HOW BOYNE SMELTER'S POWER CRISIS HAS UNFOLDED

On March 2 Mr Rea told workers they had failed to reach a deal and soon jobs would be lost.

As a contractor he won't be offered a "payout" or a redundancy, however he said BSL had offered financial planning assistance and personal help.

He said up until last week workers felt "optimistic" that BSL would strike a deal with the state's electricity generators.

"No one is going to take a bad deal whether you're a multi-billion dollar industry or not, that's just not going to happen," he said.

"I'm hopeful that because the local community is fairly resilient, we'll get through it."

EXCLUSIVE | Listen as BSL general manager Joe Rea explains 'soul destroying' task ahead

It's believed more than 100 jobs could be lost. BSL has asked workers if they wish to take voluntary redundancies.

BSL has been contacted for comment, however are yet to respond.



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