Solid Energy is cutting 90 jobs at its Huntly East
Underground mine, the company said today.
Mine workers will make up the majority of the redundancies,
with 68 positions lost, plus 22 management and support
Workers were told last week the mine was reducing annual
production, and staff numbers were being cut as part of its
ongoing response to the depressed global coal market, a
Solid Energy had stopped all development work at the mine and
was cutting production to about 100,000 tonnes per annum
because the "economics of mining underground at Huntly can no
longer justify continuing the operation in its current form",
Last week, the company's chairman Mark Ford said Solid Energy
continued to review all parts of its business in response to
the downturn in the international coal market and its high
levels of debt.
"We continue to believe that Solid Energy has a good
operating future and our North Island operations have an
important role in that.
"The company has a long history in the Huntly community and
we know this news will have a big impact on local families
and the local area," Mr Ford said. "We hope to be in a
position to reinvest in the Waikato once there is a sustained
improvement in the market."
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, which
represents the miners, said it was "really bad news" for the
workers who were losing their jobs, their families and the
EPMU acting national secretary Ged O'Connell said the miners
had lost their jobs at a time when New Zealand Steel and
Genesis Energy were importing coal.
"It just doesn't make any sense for coal miners to get laid
off when there's a coal-burning power station on the other
side of town," he said.
"We need a national jobs strategy using the Christchurch
rebuild to promote New Zealand steel and coal and protect New
Zealand jobs. The Government must do something to stop
massive redundancies like this destroying our communities."
EPMU members at Huntly East would be entitled to a redundancy
package as part of their collective employment agreement, he