10 April 2010

Ipswich rail jobs on the line?

RAIL unions claim the future of 70-80 Ipswich jobs are in doubt due to a Queensland Rail decision to move maintenance work from the Redbank rail workshops to Maryborough.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state president Bruce Mackie said there would be work cutbacks at Redbank due to QR moving planned retrofitting work.

But Member for Ipswich and Transport Minister Rachel Nolan refuted the RTBU claims, saying they were part of the union's "misinformed scare-mongering" campaign against privatisation.

Mr Mackie accused QR and Ms Nolan of authorising the cutbacks at Redbank's QR workshops in a bid to cover up railway rolling stock contracts heading overseas.

He said QR had delayed awarding new rolling stock tenders, leaving the Maryborough Downer EDI workshops with little work at the moment.

"This appears to be nothing but a short term fix for jobs in Maryborough, while the Government and QR scout overseas suppliers for the new Citytrain rolling stock," he said.

"Rachel Nolan has been found out for her complicity in QR's grand plan to move contracts to overseas suppliers.

"These actions have put into doubt the jobs of 70 to 80 Redbank workers in her own electorate of Ipswich, and the long-term future of Queensland manufacturing jobs."

But Ms Nolan said QR was not scouting overseas locations for new Citytrain rolling stock, and that work was not being moved from Redbank to keep Maryborough busy.

Ms Nolan said the Redbank workshops were currently working at full capacity and no job losses or work cutbacks would occur from moving the maintenance work.

She said the retrofitting work had not been definitely scheduled for the Redbank workshops.

"These carriages need to be fixed and what the State Government is trying to do is get them refurbished as quickly as possible for the public," she said.

"Work at the Redbank workshops has increased recently and they are at capacity, and all we are doing is considering the possibility of doing the work at Maryborough.

"If you listen to what the RTBU are saying, they don't want the carriages to be fixed quickly."

She said a decision about where the work will be carried out will be made in the coming months.

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