FUTURE IN DOUBT: Recent job losses at Wesfarmers Curragh Blackwater mine have sparked concern in the community.
FUTURE IN DOUBT: Recent job losses at Wesfarmers Curragh Blackwater mine have sparked concern in the community. Meghan Kidd

Cruel cuts at Curragh Mine

WITH 28 days to vacate the houses they once called home, the Blackwater community stands to lose football coaches, school P&C members and longstanding families who have binding ties to the town.

On the heels of 40 or more job losses at Wesfarmers Curragh Blackwater mine, CFMEU district vice-president Glenn Power said the cuts had not hit the pits - yet.

He said rumours of further job losses were just that at the moment.

"It's trying times... I'd assume at Curragh it's an ongoing review from management's point of view. You could go through 100 hypotheticals about what will happen," he said.

There is talk contractors could be hired to replace the culled staff.

"We saw it in Moura. Anglo restructured and got rid of permanent experienced Anglo workers and kept on supplementary labour hire," Mr Power said.

"Nothing surprises me anymore, the ruthlessness of employers to dispose of their workforce," Mr Power said.

"In terms of the restructure, they've restructured roster changes for some of the mine.

"The problem is people have set their lives and families around that roster and now have to readjust.

"If you were talking to the staff who have just lost their jobs, you would assume their response would be 'at least they have their jobs'.

"It's still a change for our members. They've copped a hit in wages and are working more days than what they're having off. Certainly I don't think many people would be welcoming the changes, but what do you do?"

Mr Power said the restructuring of mines used to be part of the normal cycle, but in recent years it had been a devastating blow.

"In the late '80s and early '90s we saw mine closures in Blackwater. Cook Colliery was in 1992 … houses were being sold and put on trucks," he said.

"We haven't seen (it) for some time because we've come through that period of the unprecedented boom, and the problem is people not understanding the implications of when things change.

"The effects are not good for those that work at the mines."


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