Unions are outraged over mining giant Xstrata’s decision to axe 600 jobs from its coal mines, including four across the Hunter region.

Falling coal prices, high production costs and the strong Australian
dollar are being blamed for the decision, which will see 35 permanent
jobs slashed from the Upper Hunter’s Ravensworth North mine.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials will visit the mine today for discussions on what it has labelled “the sobering up of the coal industry”.

CFMEU Northern District President Peter Jordon says he is doubtful of Xstrata’s claims mining projects will proceed as normal.

“We’ve been told that 35 permanent employees have been tagged to be reduced as well as a large number of contracting employees. Take them out of the workforce, I just can’t consider ho that mine will remain normal.”