RCR collapse dismays union

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
The company has employees at the Greenbushes lithium mine.
Camera IconThe company has employees at the Greenbushes lithium mine. Credit: Ian Munro / The West Australian

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union says it is working hard to get its members their entitlements after the collapse of an engineering company with strong ties to the South West.

Administrators are urgently seeking finance to keep RCR Tomlinson afloat in the wake of its collapse.

The company was established in 1979 to provide fabrication and machining services in the South West before expanding to employ thousands of employees across the country and has a significant presence in the State’s resources and infrastructure sectors.

The company has employees at the Greenbushes lithium mine and offices in Bunbury.

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A spokesman from appointed administrators McGrathNicol could not confirm reports that some workers had lost their jobs already but said updates would be issued this week.

Manufacturing union State secretary Steve McCartney expressed dismay over payments and prospects for RCR’s employees and a lack of arrangement for workers.

“The guys on the job are confused and concerned, they really had no indication their company was in jeopardy,” Mr McCartney told the Bunbury Herald.

“They’re worried about one, their wages, two, their entitlements and three, where do we go from here — none of that information has been available for any of the workers.

“The white collar workers and the supervisory staff that we do cover are in the same boat with less information.

“We are representing our members to the administration so we can get them entitlements, we’re trying to work with the administrators to find out what they’re doing as far as the future of the projects and the future work of the employees.

“We’ve given them another raft of questions from our members on the ground, we’ve asked them to step up their communication.

“There is already a level of anxiety and we have got a mental health problem ... this is just another layer of stress on that.

“We would think a priority for any administrator or any company, is to make sure we look after workers and their family’s mental health first.

“All our members have been reassured the union is doing everything it can to ensure they get their rights secured.”

In a statement, McGrathNicol said administrators would work closely with RCR’s employees, suppliers and customers to “quickly stabilise operations”.

“The Administrators are undertaking an assessment of the business and urgently seeking funding from the RCR Group’s financiers,” it said.

“The Administrators will work closely with RCR’s employees, suppliers and customers to quickly stabilise operations and to determine the appropriate strategy for the business.

“A sale process will be commenced immediately.

“RCR suppliers are asked to ensure that they supply only in accordance with the circular to suppliers, available on the McGrathNicol and RCR websites.”

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