TRANSPORT Minister Terry Mulder, should step in to stem the job cuts in the Ballarat train industry, the city’s Trades Hall president, Brett Edgington, has said.
Mr Edgington’s comments came after 11 workers at UGL Engineering’s Ballarat facility lost their jobs yesterday.
The news follows a decision by Goodman Fielder on Monday to close its bakery in Ballarat, making 34 jobs redundant just before Christmas.
Mr Edgington said Mr Mulder needed to sit down and work out a way so that there was a continuous supply of work in Ballarat to retain the workforce.
“UGL and Alstom workers have expressed their frustrations with the gaps between contracts and the inability or unwillingness of the government to sit down and talk with them,” Mr Edgington said.
“Also there are fears that this is just another in a string of announcements in ongoing redundancies in the rail industry unless the state government steps in to talk to the industry, workers and unions.”
But Mr Mulder said day-to-day management of the workforce was a matter for the company themselves.
“The Victorian Coalition government has shown our support of Alstom and Ballarat by purchasing another 8 X-Trapolis trains that will be commissioned in Ballarat,” Mr Mulder said.
“This follows on from the successful delivery of the seven trains we ordered in 2011.”
UGL Engineering chief operating officer Russell Waugh yesterday said the redundancies came because of the present macro-economic environment in Australia and a softening demand across its rail operations.
“UGL has today confirmed that approximately 11 personnel at its Ballarat facility have regrettably been made redundant,” Mr Waugh said.
“Workers impacted by this decision will be assisted by UGL with outplacement services so they have the best chance to secure future employment.”
Mr Waugh said the company was committed to assisting those affected by this decision.
“The current decision is not one we have taken lightly,” he said. “UGL continues to have more than 80 employees at Ballarat actively employed.
“The company is working hard to secure new orders and looks forward to the ongoing support of its workforce and customers.”
In April, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine announced a $176 million train order for eight new trains to be built at Alstom’s Ballarat yards over the next two years.