Just five months after cutting 100 jobs at Boggabri coal mine, Downer EDI have rehired 42 people, eight of which are previously retrenched workers.
The miners have been rehired as part of a recruitment drive by Downer after they announced plans to hire 70 new positions at the project.
Downer said it has been advised by mine owner Idemitsu Coal that production targets would increase from 4.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 4.9 from October 1st.
“As a consequence, Downer is advertising for 52 operator and 18 maintenance positions,” a spokesperson for the company said at the time.
A Downer spokesperson said previously retrenched workers were all contacted by the company and encouraged to apply for the new positions.
Naomi Valley Independent reports the company received a staggering 800 applications for the 70 available roles – 33 of which were from sacked workers.
“The recruitment process is continuing and is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks however Downer EDI Mining can confirm that 42 offers have been made to date, eight of which were made to previously retrenched employees,” the spokesperson said.
The decision to cut 87 fulltime workers and 19 contractor positions as a result of Idemistu reducing production targets in April caused widespread anger in the local Gunnedah community.
The unions slammed the move at the time, accusing the company of sacking locals while six Papua New Guinean workers brought in on 457 visas kept their diesel fitting jobs maintaining the site’s trucks.
"It’s a horrific blow to the community, particularly if local employees are losing their jobs that have families and live in the community and contractors from outside the place are keeping their jobs,” CFMEU district president Peter Jordan said.
Boggabri Coal issued a statement at the start of the recruitment drive saying it will be “returning to more normal production after the impacts of the interruption to rail services in late 2012”.
“We are pleased that this will create new employment opportunities, especially for local people from the Narrabri, Boggabri and Gunnedah communities,” the company said.