Nyrstar launches review as job cuts expected

About 100 jobs are set to be axed at Nyrstar smelter, according to the Australian Workers Union and Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock.

The union’s organiser, Cr Mick Hopgood, said his organisation believed 60 limited contract employees and 40 full-time workers would lose their positions.

He said the union was in the dark about where in the plant that the positions would be lost.

He suggested the Fair Work Commission might enter the fray to determine the necessary information.

“We don’t know whether these positions that they are going to move are going to become a concern for safety,” he said,

He said the union was banned under the terms of the enterprise agreement from taking industrial action over the matter.

Mr Brock said he had a one-hour phone conversation on Tuesday night with smelter manager Mark Zaborowski in which Mr Zaborowski indicated 40 or 50 contract positions would be terminated. Mr Brock said he thought about 100 positions would be lost, but that some were “on paper” and that it was inevitable as the new TSL plant ramped up, overtaking the old plant and removing the need for as many workers.

He said Mr Zaborowski had told him there would be “no mass redundancies in 2019”.

A company spokesman said the smelter was reviewing its long-term organisational structure amid the ramp-up of the new plant. 

“We are not far enough in the review to provide details. We understand the need to communicate with our employees and to consult if changes are to occur,” the spokesman said.

“Nyrstar is committed to its Port Pirie operation and will continue to have open communication with its employees through the process.

“The review, along with a number of transformation initiatives, is intended to assist in ensuring that the smelter will have a sustainable future.”