Sacked workers fear being kicked out at Christmas
ANGLO American has promised to relax a policy that would have forced all German Creek mine workers made redundant out of company housing by Christmas Day.
On Friday the mining giant set about making 82 of the workers redundant from its German Creek mine at Middlemount.
The CFMEU believed that by Monday 80% of those who had received redundancy notices were permanent workers, who live in Anglo-American owned housing at Middlemount.
Although the company is believed to own more than 100 vacant houses in the town, their standard policy is that workers made redundant have four weeks to leave the premises.
This would have seen the workers made redundant on Friday forced out of town on Christmas Day. However, an Anglo American spokesman said in this circumstance it would be more flexible.
"We have made the commitment to all impacted employees that we will work with them and take into account individual circumstances," he said.
The company is expected to notify workers of all redundancies by Wednesday.
CFMEU Mackay district president Stephen Smyth said on Tuesday workers were highly distressed by the vacate policy, particularly as some who had been made redundant had been at the mine up to 12 years. He said the CFMEU would be moving forward with legal action.
According to the 2011 Census, the population of Middlemount is 1914.
The CFMEU believed 80% of redundancies went to workers who lived in town, meaning up to 66 workers and their families, a substantial chunk of the population, could be forced to leave.
However, Wendy Northey, from Middlemount Milieu Management, which manages a housing estate at Middlemount, said the atmosphere in town wasn't one of despair.
"(The redundancies) will certainly slow the town down again. That impacts the resources in Middlemount," she said.
"But I think people know mining is cyclic. And things are starting to pick up again. There's not a sense of doom and gloom."