Wollongong job losses pile up higher

WOLLONGONG Coal will cut 76 jobs from its Russell Vale longwall mine according to union figures – higher than the 69 the company said would go earlier this week.
Wollongong job losses pile up higher Wollongong job losses pile up higher Wollongong job losses pile up higher Wollongong job losses pile up higher Wollongong job losses pile up higher

Image courtesy of Wollongong Coal.

Blair Price

The loss of 69 positions of the 172-strong workforce represented a 40% cut to the mine’s workforce while a cut of 76 jobs is a 44% reduction.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union local district vice-president Bob Timbs told International Coal News that 36 CFMEU members would lose their jobs, 30 staff and deputies would go and 10 corporate roles would be made redundant.

In regards to the corporate cuts, Timbs said those jobs losses were administration and accounting-related, from what he could gather.

While the difficult coal market is causing widespread coal mining job losses around the world, Timbs said the redundancies were a direct result of not having the approvals in place to continue longwall mining.

He confirmed the longwall would stop cutting coal and that the mine’s production would come from development coal – which required a smaller workforce.

“We can’t really point to market forces because they really haven’t had any saleable coal for 15 months,” he said.

Wollongong’s expansion project is targeting an increased rate of 4.7 million tonnes per annum run of mine over a five-year mine life.

In November the NSW Planning Assessment Commission gave the mine approval to mine the first 400m of a proposed expansion panel to save jobs as the assessment processes continued.

In May, Wollongong made 42 redundancies at Russell Vale.

At that time there was 356m of PAC-approved coal left but this breathing space has since run out.

“There is no more longwall mining there will only be limited roadway development thus the reasons to further reduce the workforce,” Timbs said.

As before, he said, the planning approval process needed to be expedited at Russell Vale.

Earlier this week Wollongong flagged that operators, electricians, fitters, deputies and support staff roles would be affected by the redundancies.

“The final reduction of our workforce will depend on mitigation measures that can be implemented,” a company spokesman said on Monday.

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