South32 has given miners at its Appin Colliery a month to flag whether they want to take a voluntary redundancy.
The move, which the company says would “inform future planning”, comes after the NSW Resources Regulator allowed mine operations to resume following a seven-week shutdown.
The Regulator issued prohibition notices on the mine on June 28, after ongoing safety issues related to gas and ventilation problems.
In an application form, seen by the Mercury, workers across the mine’s three sites – Appin East, Appin West and Appin North – have been asked to consider a voluntary redundancy (VR).
The VR expressions of interest are open to operator, electrician, trade and deputy employees.
Workers have been told to return their completed forms by January 5.
The form, dated December 4, said the company would consider all expressions of interest received and engage in further discussions with interested staff “once definite decisions have been made regarding any changes that impact on future operations”.
The reason for the move was not further defined.
One worker, who chose to remain anonymous, said he was told of the VR call during a meeting on Monday.
He said none of the workers’ questions about what prompted the move were answered.
A South 32 spokesman said the company had undertaken a comprehensive review of its operations at Appin and were “seeing positive results from the changes that have allowed us to safely restart the mine”.
“As we continue to assess the best approach for the long-term operation of the mine, we are opening an expression of interest process for voluntary redundancy to gauge the interest among our employees,” he said.
“No decisions have been made regarding future staffing numbers. This expression of interest process will be used to inform future planning.
“Our focus continues to be on maintaining safe and stable operations and we will not compromise on the processes, systems, people and safety controls required to keep the Appin mine operating sustainably.”
This story first appeared on the Illawarra Mercury.