Bradken tight-lipped over Hillside move

Hillside Engineering Workshops. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Hillside Engineering Workshops. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The global manufacturing company leasing Hillside's foundry remains tight-lipped about its operation and planned expansion.

Bradken had a five-year agreement with KiwiRail to lease the foundry at Hillside Engineering Workshops in South Dunedin.

This week, the company's industrial general manager,Matthew Criss, refused to answer questions from the Otago Daily Times about when Bradken would move its operation to Hillside and what it would do with its Tewsley St factory.

Mr Criss - who works at Bradken's head office in Newcastle, Australia - also refused to confirm how many former Hillside workers had been employed by Bradken to work in the foundry.

He said there was nothing new to say, other than plans made public in mid-November last year were ''on track''.

He would not elaborate on that comment.

He said there was no timeline in place for Bradken's plan to transfer its operations to Hillside.

On November 15 last year, Bradken issued a public statement announcing its agreement with KiwiRail, which had sought a buyer for the entire Hillside workshops.

Bradken said the Hillside foundry offered ''increased capability and capacity''.

''Over time, Bradken will transfer its current operations to the Hillside site, making for a larger and more capable business overall. The consolidation of operations on the Hillside foundry site will provide a broader manufacturing envelope and skills base, leading to local and export growth opportunities and in turn, increased job numbers and security,'' Bradken said.

The company has a 48-year history in Dunedin and about 50 people work at its Tewsley St foundry, which supplies iron and steel castings.

Internationally, Bradken employs more than 6000 people and has 34 manufacturing facilities. Almost all its New Zealand staff are in Dunedin.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

Positive outcome...yeah right

How can retaining 22 jobs and axing 95 skilled workers be a positive outcome. There are now 95 Hillsiders unemployed, and many contractors to Hillside who have lost workload.

Good on Bradken for investing in Dunedin, shame on KiwiRail, its board, and its shareholder the Key-led government for not investing in Dunedin. Maybe we would have attracted investment had we been renamed Hollywood Engineering Group.

Great to hear

"Local and export growth opportunities", "increased job numbers and security", this sounds like a very positive outcome for the engineering industry of Dunedin.  I look forward to hearing the negative rantings of usual politically driven contributors that blame John Key and the National Party for industrial closures.  Is it perhaps possible that rail (like cars) are not the way of the industrial future for this country? Who would have thought!  

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