Griffin Coal boss sacked

MORE layoffs are to come at Griffin Coal, following the sacking of operations manager Graham Cleggett.

Executive general manager of support services Chris Godfrey said further layoffs are likely, although he said rumours a decision had been made to sack a further 15 managerial staff were false.

"There have been no discussion around numbers, keeping in mind we are trying to reduce our labour costs to maintain sustainability," he said.

"We are currently reviewing our labour needs and obviously it is likely that we will have further reductions.

"It is part of our organisational review and restructure. Graham's role has been determined to be surplus to the company's needs."

Mr Godfrey said vice president of operations Vinod Kumar will take on Mr Cleggett's responsibilities.

CFMEU mining and energy division secretary Gary Wood said Mr Cleggett was laid off because his number one priority was the safety of workers and not production levels.

"Their official line is that he is surplus to their numbers. It seems a plausible reason but it is not the truth," Gary Wood said.

"He was removed, in the union's view, because his focus was on regulatory compliance and to ensure his employees were not subjected to possible safety issues.

"The view of the senior managers, the non-Australian managers, was that production comes before any other issue, including safety."

"Going forward, we've got some major concerns with Griffin's approach. We will be raising our deep concerns about the ongoing viability of the operation when you remove quality people from the management structures."

Mr Wood paid tribute to Mr Cleggett's expertise and understanding of coal mining in Collie.

"He's a local guy, with over twenty years with the company, in difficult circumstances. He's kept the job losses to a minimum," he said.

"From our point of view he has always done a good job in difficult conditions. In any operation safety has to be the number one priority."

Mr Godfrey strongly denied Mr Cleggett's commitment to safety had anything to do with his sacking, and said Mr Kumar was the right man for the job.

"Griffin Coal is committed to the safety of its employees. Our culture is to ensure that we don't place our people at risk of injury.

"Vinod is a well credentialed, highly experienced mining executive."

Mr Godfrey said it was a difficult decision but management believed it would help to ensure the long term sustainability of the business.

"Graham was highly regarded by our management team and will be a considerable loss to the company. He is loved by all."

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said it was concerning that the company had again changed it's management structure.

"I'm concerned about the lack of stability in tough times. If a company wants to get people's confidence, changing the people at the top is not the way to do it," he said.

"That loss of local knowledge, that understanding of the historic parts and the feel for the town. It makes it a bit difficult when a new manager comes in."