Macraes confirms redundancy total

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OceanaGold have confirmed a finalised total of 70 redundancies at Macraes Goldfield.

OceanaGold senior financial analyst Nova Young confirmed to the Oamaru Mail the figure included full employees, but not contractors such as Gough Group, which laid off about 39 workers on January 17 from the goldfield after OceanaGold terminated their contract.

Macraes Operations general manager Bernie O’Leary said he was pleased the number of redundancies was lower than originally proposed.

The company saved 16 jobs by replacing contractors involved in civil earthworks operations, by redeploying equipment operators to underground operations and by redeploying workers to the company’s Reefton gold mine on the West Coast, he said.

Mr O’Leary said staff had been very understanding and had provided good feedback to OceanaGold.

The confirmation to media followed a meeting held for redundant staff at Waikouaiti on Friday.

A company spokesperson said the company organised the support gathering to discuss the situation with affected employees.

More than 50 mine workers attended the meeting, as well as several support agencies including recruitment consultants, government agencies and other businesses, as well as OceanaGold management.

Those groups were able to provide advice, promote their services and discuss suitable job opportunities with those at the meeting.

Amalgamated Workers Union secretary Calvin Fisher said there was a lot of support on display from OceanaGold and people were “optimistic” about future job prospects.

The company had saved some jobs throughout their operations for affected workers and employment agencies were already headhunting the workers for various positions, he said.

“I was personally surprised at the optimism of the employment agencies there.”

There were still some issues to sort out and Mr Fisher said he was “not confident” every affected worker would find work, but it was good to see some workers make connections with possible employers, he said.

Employers wanted workers for areas including Auckland and Papua New Guinea, he said.

“Some have already got jobs to go to.”

The union would do everything they could to support workers moving into new employment, he said.

Overall, the day had been successful and the information redundant workers learned very valuable, he said.

“Well done to the company for putting the day on.”

By DAVID DE LOREAN