QR National announced on June 5 it would cut 500 rail jobs, to add to the 600 lost last year through voluntary redundancies. QR National is now Australia's largest rail freight company. It was was privatised in 2011 as part of the previous Labor state government's controversial public asset sales program.
Rail Tram and Bus Union (RBTU) Queensland state secretary Owen Doogan told the June 6 Courier Mail that the redundancies were damaging: “We believe they will be outsourcing some of their work which means QR National workers will have been sold down the road.”
He said Maryborough rail workshop staff had been told the depot was likely to eventually close.
Electrical Trades Union (ETU) secretary Peter Simpson told the Courier Mail that the job losses were in line with union predictions. He said: “This move will see hundreds of long-term Queensland jobs walk out the door, never to be replaced.
“When these sales were originally announced, the ETU and other rail unions spoke out strongly against them, predicting mass redundancies, which would ultimately kill regional Queensland. QRN has tried to spin this round of redundancies as making them fit. We see it more as a the start of a massive job shedding exercise, with QRN admitting 6500 workers will be in scope for their ability to apply for redundancy.”
These job cuts make clear the consequences of Labor’s disastrous decision to sell off QR National, with private investors making a substantial profit already — money which should have gone into the Queensland public purse — and rail jobs being slashed to cut costs.