Voluntary administrators FTI Consulting have laid off all staff at Queensland Nickel, effective tomorrow afternoon.
There were more than 500 staff left at the Yabulu facility north of Townsville following the first round of redundancies more than month ago.
Last Monday ( March 7) the administrators received notice that Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd would replace Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd as the manager of the operations at the Yabulu refinery ‘with immediate effect’.
FTI said the staff could be re-employed by the new management company. Reports this afternoon indicated that was dependent on the new management company getting the appropriate licences to operate the refinery.
The decision to replace Queensland Nickel as joint venture manager was determined by the director of QNI Resources and QNI Metals, Clive Mensink.
As a result the administrators no longer had operational or management control of the Yabulu Refinery, FTI said in a statement.
“Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd, the newly appointed manager of the refinery, may offer current employees of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd employment but the administrators are currently unaware of the terms or timing of those offers.
“The administrators have impressed on Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd the urgency of the situation and the need to quickly resolve the ongoing employment of staff. At this time the administrators are uncertain as to the status of future employment offers by Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd.
“The terminations of employment and uncertainty regarding the new offers is a deeply regrettable situation, although unavoidable given the administrators no longer have operational control of the refinery.”
Townsville Enterprise chair Kevin Gill called for the employees of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd to be transferred immediately to the new company structure under Queensland Nickel Sales.
“Clive Palmer indicated at the start of the week that his intention was to ‘find a solution to secure the long-term operations of the Yabulu refinery and its workforce in the best interests of the Townsville economy’,” Mr Gill said.
“At the moment, over 500 employees are uncertain about their future and the future of a company that contributes over $1.3 billion to the local economy is in jeopardy.
“In the best interests of the families of the 500 workers, in the best interests of businesses that rely on this refinery and in the best interests of North Queensland – Queensland Nickel Sales must keep the doors open by offering employment contracts immediately.”