Curragh mine has began the consultation process with affected employees and said as many as 50 jobs could be cut from the site.
Curragh mine has began the consultation process with affected employees and said as many as 50 jobs could be cut from the site. Meghan Kidd

Mining slump behind Curragh cuts

IN A perfect world, the number of permanent jobs slashed from the Wesfarmers Curragh mine in Blackwater would be zero.

But CFMEU district vice-president Glenn Power said the union would have to settle for working with the mine to reduce the losses as much as possible.

Earlier this week, the mine began the consultation process with affected employees and said as many as 50 jobs could be cut from the site.

But Mr Power said after meetings with the company, the union had a figure of 27.

"We believe 22 are mining, four in heavy mobile equipment - so the trades - and one supervisor," he said.

"Obviously we're still working through the consultation to try to lower those numbers."

Curragh general manager Craig McCabe said cutting the perman-ent workforce was the last option for the company.

"We have thoroughly explored all options available to us and the decision to reduce our permanent workforce - as part of a broader range of changes - has only been made after all other avenues of cost reduction and efficiencies had been exhausted," he said.

But any dent in a permanent workforce comes with flow-on effects for the town and Mr Power said Blackwater was a town often hit with the cyclical mining turnovers.

"All jobs that come redundant impact on the town and obviously it's difficult times, but as we know the mining industry is a very hostile and volatile industry," he said.

"It's been like that for decades. This downturn is probably more severe due to the unprecedented boom that we're coming down from through '08 to '12."

A Wesfarmers spokesman said it was "important to note" it was particular roles identified for cuts and not employees. This meant the job losses were not based on performance.

"All we have identified is the roles," he said.

Mr Power said the union was working closely with the company to get as good an outcome as possible.

"It's difficult times. The companies have got views of what they want and we've got to be convinced that these views are workable," he said.

The news comes only one year after major job losses at Curragh's Blackwater mine saw workers being led off site by senior personnel, and the Blackwater community losing longstanding families who had binding ties to the town.


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