Yarwun workers learn fate, axed in restructure

RIO TINTO Yarwun workers have been told their fate today with management speaking to a large number of workers and handing out redundancies.

General manager Colin McGibbon wouldn't say how many were given redundancy packages saying it was Rio Tinto policy to keep that information in house.

He told The Observer he spoke with a "large number of people", some given new positions at Yarwun, the option to work elsewhere within Rio Tinto or given a redundancy.

He said redundancies would be "well-above" the Fair Work Commission's standards.

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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

They have also been provided with career support and advice.

The redundancies were part of a restructure at Yarwun, which was brought on by a falling alumina price where the plant hasn't turned over a profit since at least the beginning of last year.

Mr McGibbons said the plant was in the worst 25% of alumina plants in the world in relation of much it costs per to produce a tonne of alumina.

The site notice at Yarwun.
The site notice at Yarwun.

Rio Tinto community relations manager Jeremy Hastings said previously the alumina plant had relied on Rio to carry Yarwun but due to a drop in all commodity prices.

But now Rio has told managers at Yarwun they need to stand on their own two feet.

Within the next month Mr McGibbons plans to confirm the number of employees the plant will use going forward.

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