Men 'in tears' over Delta redundancies

Men were reportedly in tears as Delta confirmed the loss of up to 23 jobs yesterday, although some workers could yet be offered a reprieve.

Delta chief executive Grady Cameron confirmed the redundancies in a written statement, just over a week after announcing up to 30 jobs could go from the company's roading and drainage operation in Dunedin.

The number of redundancies had been lowered following consultation with staff and their representatives, but would still be "unwelcome" news, he said.

There remained a "significant opportunity" for those losing jobs to be redeployed in other parts of the company, which operated around the South Island, he said.

Affected workers would be offered the chance to reapply for a reduced number of remaining jobs, or for new roles being created as a result of the restructuring, he said.

There were also 27 vacancies for permanent and seasonal roles available within Delta across Otago and Canterbury, including Dunedin and Christchurch, and workers could apply for those, too, he said.

Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand (Southern) secretary Calvin Fisher - representing 15 of the workers who faced redundancy - could not be contacted yesterday.

However, one Delta worker, who would not be named, told the Otago Daily Times those losing their jobs were "pretty depressed".

"Some of them, grown men, probably older than me, are walking out in tears.

"They're just absolutely broken."

The worker dismissed the offer of work elsewhere within the company as "just a ploy" designed to soften the blow.

"I got the feeling there's not much trust in that."

Mr Cameron conceded not all staff would have the required skills for all of the vacancies, which included project manager positions, but most affected staff would be "strong contenders" for many of them.

"There's no doubt that today was difficult. Obviously, I sympathise with all of the staff there ... but the reality is these are genuine vacancies within the business right now.

"We are going to need to fill those vacancies."

Earlier, when announcing the proposed redundancies last week, Mr Cameron said the company needed to adjust to "ongoing tough market conditions", a lack of property development work and reduced spending by central and local government.

Yesterday, Mr Cameron said the company was making "every practical effort" to help workers through the process, and acknowledged the "direct impact on our employees and their families".

It was possible the number who lose their jobs could change, as one of the 30 workers affected by the original proposal was yet to be consulted, due to personal circumstances, he said.

The job losses came just months after the company announced redundancies in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes areas, and amid lingering concern over its decision - in 2008 and 2009 - to invest in property at Jacks Point, near Queenstown, and at Luggate.

The company was now said to be considering a write-down in the value of those investments, possibly by up to $9 million, but that was yet to be confirmed.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

 

Debacle

First it was the debacle that was Citiworks, and now it continues with the debacle that is Delta. You can 'put make-up on a pig' but it's still a pig.

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