QR National offers voluntary redundancies to 3,500 staff

Competition at centre of push to reduce workforce, rail freight firm says

By Rob McKay | February 9, 2011

QR National moved quickly today to scotch speculation that it intended to seek redundancies for more than a third of its workforce of 9,400.

The privatisation of the company had been the subject of strident union resistance last year over the prospect of high job losses.

Rail, Tram
and Bus Union representatives were in meetings this morning and were not available to respond immediately.

A QR National spokesman indicated that competition from leaner operators was behind the move but insisted there would be no coercion and that it was not seeking to shed all 3,500 of those eligible for the offer.

"QR National has commenced consultation with employees and unions on a proposal to offer a voluntary redundancy scheme next month," the spokesman says.

"We have proposed a VR scheme at this time for operational reasons and to help ensure the size of sections of our workforce are relative to our competitors and industry benchmarking.

"Consultation with staff is proposed to continue to 23 February, with the proposal including expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy from staff open between 4 and 25 March.

"Under the proposed scheme, no staff member will be asked to consider a redundancy package unless they ask for one.

"There are approximately 3,500 employees that may be eligible to apply in the nominated areas for the proposed scheme but it is nonsense to suggest that all of those employees would put their hand up for voluntary redundancy or that QR National would accept all the applications."

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