SPECIALIST rail manufacturer UGL Rail will complete 13 voluntary redundancies at its Ballarat workshops in coming days, with employees critical of the company’s processes.
A company spokesperson yesterday confirmed staff members had been asked to apply for redundancies as work on the X’Trapolis train model for metropolitan Melbourne comes to an end.
The redundancies are expected to be shared between front office staff and manufacturing workers but the spokesperson said exact breakdowns would not be available until the process had been completed.
UGL Rail employs about 105 workers in Ballarat, with one contractor who asked not to be named saying staff felt let down by the redundancy program after being promised no job losses would be required.
“The redundancies have been blamed by management on a downturn within rail manufacturing, even though train operating companies report record growth and with the rail freight sector also on the up after years of privatisation,” the contractor said.
“It would seem that it is down to nothing other than poor management and a company with poor priorities and lack of care for its long-serving, devoted workforce.”
The controversial X’Trapolis trains were ordered by the former Brumby government for Melbourne’s rail network, with some rolling stock delivered late and with defects.
The Courier understands UGL encouraged its workforce to remain with the company and not take work with rival workshops in Ballarat before the redundancy round was launched.
In August, UGL Rail and the City of Ballarat reached a compromise on the Gregory Street West reopening which will see the road widened and a railway reserve remaining open for production.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said this morning the redundancies were concerning for the Ballarat region.
"I am very concerned about the jobs that are going to be lost at UGL and have spoken with union representatives at the site," Ms Knight said.
"The workers at UGL do great work and I hope the quality of that work is recognised and supported by the Baillieu Government."
Ms Knight said the Baillieu government needed to do more for manufacturing jobs.
"I am concerned that while jobs are being lost in our region, the Baillieu Government still doesn't see the need for a jobs plan."