Crakanthorp slams decision to replace Newcastle TrainLink Contact Centre jobs with Service NSW positions

Dozens of people will have to apply for new jobs for less pay when the state government closes the NSW TrainLink Contact Centre, Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp says.

The November closure will mean the loss of 71 jobs in the TrainLink office, to be replaced by 55 new positions at Service NSW.

The Herald reported in March that employees had been told the government was considering closing the Honeysuckle call centre.

Mr Crakanthorp raised the issue with Transport Minister Andrew Constance in Parliament on Tuesday.

He said employees in the new positions would be paid as much as $15,000 per year less than they were in the TrainLink jobs.

Mr Crakanthorp told the Herald the TrainLink call centre closure was the sixth state government department to either close or be moved from Newcastle under the current state government.

“It is an absolute disgrace that this government continues to get rid of local jobs, from local agencies,” he said.

“In this situation, some jobs will stay, however the staff have to apply for the same job for a reduced wage. How is this fair?”

Mr Constance referred the Herald’s request for comment to Transport for NSW.

A NSW TrainLink spokesperson said the changes had been implemented over a six-month period to give staff time to consider their options. The spokesperson did not deny the new positions would offer less pay.

“Our staff and our customers are always our highest priorities,” the spokesperson said. “Some staff elected to take voluntary redundancy or seek redeployment support and we are working to assist them with these transition options. NSW TrainLink customers will continue to receive the same high level of services that they have always enjoyed.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Alex Claassens said the change would “devastate families” in a region where unemployment was already an issue.

“The union has been doing everything we can to support these workers,” he said.

“It’s a tough blow for these dedicated and experienced workers. There are only 55 positions with Service NSW up for grabs, and even if they get one of those roles, their wage packet will be significantly less than what they’re currently earning.”

It comes after the closure of Newcastle-based Births, Deaths and Marriages office, the Office of State Revenue and the Broadmeadow Countrylink Office.

The government also confirmed earlier this year that it would move 40 jobs from the Office of State Revenue in Maitland to the Central Coast.