THE knives are out in Central Queensland coalfields with up to 1000 jobs slashed from mines in just seven days.
This sudden wave of blood-letting has pushed state-wide mine job losses beyond 7000 since early 2012.
The latest mining giant to brandish the blade was Glencore Xstrata, announcing on Thursday morning it would slice 450 workers from its Newlands and Oaky Creek coalmines in the Bowen Basin.
It was the second time Glencore Xstrata has acted as messenger, having already announced 46 job losses from its Ravensworth project in New South Wales just two days earlier.
APN sought to interview Glencore Xstrata executives on Thursday but they were unavailable for comment before deadline.
News broke on Tuesday evening that American-based Peabody Energy would slash 450 contractors from its 11 coal mines, six of which were west of Mackay and Rockhampton.
Contractor Downer lost 185 of its workers at the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance-owned Goonyella Riverside, after BMA decided to do the work itself.
Mine engineering firm Hastings Deering, with workshops in Mackay and Rockhampton, last week told workers 200 would have to go as work continued to disappear.
Earlier this month, Anglo American announced it would shut down its Aquila underground mine, potentially affecting another 80 workers.
These higher-profile losses come on top of an incessant drive from major mining companies to save money.
In each case, companies blamed worsening market conditions, the high Australian dollar and over-regulation by governments.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, however, blamed poor decision-making. Rio Tinto lost its chief executive Tom Albanese after the company wrote off $13 billion in its aluminium assets and coal deals in Mozambique.
BHP Billiton's former chief Marius Kloppers oversaw a $2.8 billion write-down in American gas assets before resigning earlier this year.
CFMEU mining and energy division vice president Steve Pierce said these companies had cost themselves billions, now workers were paying.
"In the past 12 months, we have seen failed takeovers, we have seen attempted buy-outs of businesses that have been economic disasters and we have seen mergers that failed and cost the companies billions of dollars," Mr Pierce said.
The workforces were being thinned, he said, because while there would be "billions" in profits, it was not the "multi-billions" they expected.
Mr Pierce said mines were only coming to unions after job losses were publicly announced.
He said a lack of consultation meant he could not say if more job cuts were on the way.
Data released by the Minerals Council of Australia - the peak national body for mining companies - estimated more than 24,000 mining jobs have been lost Australia-wide since May 2012.
A WEEK OF KNIVES
A snapshot of sackings
- June 20: Mining manufacturer Hastings Deering to axe 200 workers
- June 25: Peabody Energy to sack 450 from Queensland/NSW projects
- June 26: BMA contractor Downer cuts 185 as BMA takes over the work
- June 27: Glencore-Xstrata to dump 450 workers from Newlands, Oaky Creek
Do you feel your job is secure in the current environment?
This poll ended on 30 June 2013.
No, but I will go wherever the work is
Yes, I do feel secure in my job
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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