Despite the winding down of operations at Hillside
Engineering Workshops, its eclectic support group lives on.
Hillside working party members met yesterday morning to
discuss whether the group was still relevant, given
KiwiRail's proposal to cut 90 of its 115 Hillside staff.
All Dunedin-based politicians as well as Dunedin City Council
representatives, union members and industry leaders were
involved in the party, which was established three years ago
and opened to a wide range of people who could help.
Group chairman and Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive
John Christie said he thought the working party's days had
come to a close but, more than ever, Hillside workers needed
The working party was determined to provide or facilitate
practical help for those facing redundancy, he said.
"On reflection, we still see value in the group continuing to
meet. That assistance is things like CV preparation,
identifying job opportunities, liaising and linking various
organisations with people at Hillside and activating where we
can various initiatives to ensure that the best possible
outcome is obtained," he said.
All apprentices at Hillside had been given a guarantee they
could finish practical work before the workshops were wound
down in a few weeks, Mr Christie said.
"Most are pretty well through and will be able to finish," he
The job market remained "tough", but there were opportunities
for skilled staff in Dunedin, Mr Christie said.
"We've had a number of businesses contact us to say they have
opportunities, which are wide and varied. They are not all
directly linked to the skill set of Hillside workers, but we
will try to match up people where we can."
The working party would meet in another two weeks, and
continue to do so until there was nothing more members could
offer Hillside staff.
Union representatives in particular had praised the working
party's support, Mr Christie said.
"Our job isn't finished just yet. It's about minimising the
impact of redundancies on the city and workers," he said.