63 jobs cut by Stockton mine contractor

Sixty-three jobs have been cut by the contractor to Solid Energy's Stockton mine on the West Coast, their union says.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) area organiser Garth Elliott said there had been 63 redundancies at Kaipara Ltd, which contracted to Stockton Alliance.

The workers were given their notice last Friday, he said.

The cuts were the result of a lack of work due to the restructuring of Solid Energy.

Buller District Mayor Pat McManus said it was always sad to lose jobs but he understood some contractors weren't expecting to have their contracts renewed anyway, with their work due to be taken over by the Stockton Alliance.

Kaipara director Steve Riddell didn't return calls this week but last month confirmed its pit development contract at Stockton, due to finish in December would end earlier, affecting 40 jobs.

The Stockton Alliance had always been planning to take over the pit development contract in December and the early takeover was partly due to Kaipara making faster progress than expected. He said Kaipara employed about 85 at Stockton on three different contracts.

In Greymouth, more than 240 workers at Spring Creek Mine are waiting to hear whether their jobs are safe after operations at the mine were suspended pending a review.

In addition to that, 75 jobs have been lost in coal operations at Solid Energy mines including Huntly East.

Solid Energy is restructuring in an effort to save $200 million to offset an expected loss of the same amount this financial year.

- By Kim Fulton of the Westport News

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