More than 100 workers have lost their jobs at Macraes Goldfield, says Amalgamated Workers’ Union secretary Calvin Fisher.
Last Thursday and Friday, 76 open pit mine workers were informed they had lost their jobs, on top of the about 39 Gough Group contractors who were terminated on Friday, Mr Fisher said.
Mr Fisher said he understood further job losses were possible as OceanaGold decreased staff levels at Macraes Goldfield.
OceanaGold senior financial analyst Nova Young said the process was still ongoing.
“The employee engagement process is still continuing and is expected to be finalised towards the end of the month.
“The staff have been very understanding and we have had good support and feedback.
“OceanaGold has organised support and information briefings for affected staff and their partners.”
Oceana Gold did not comment on the number of workers affected.
Mr Fisher said workers were upset and struggling to come to terms with the job losses.
“Some were struggling with the decision in terms of where they were on the job schedule.
“It was an extremely sobering 24 hours.”
Mr Fisher said he was concerned about the job prospects of the workers.
Workers were spread out from Oamaru southward, so the impact of the job losses would be felt all over, he said.
A meeting would be held on Friday for the impacted workers to see what could be done to support them, he said.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said it was a difficult time for everyone involved.
The meeting on Friday would see various support agencies, including Work and Income, meet with the impacted workers to discuss support for them, he said.
The workers would be looked after, and the Waitaki District Council’s door was open to anyone who needed support, Mr Kircher said.
“We are here if need be.”
Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said a “pretty comprehensive response” was under way, meaning impacted workers would be supported by agencies such as Work and Income.
“Our job is to see that those workers . . . get whatever assistance they need or want.
“It’s a hard blow for any worker and their family when they are made redundant.”
OceanaGold announced on January 7 that, due to the low price of gold, they would “re-optimise” their mine schedule to allow them to reduce staff levels.
They announced about 25 per cent of the workers employed at the goldfield, of which there were about 560 including workers and contractors, would be impacted by reduced staff levels in the new mine schedule.
By DAVID DE LOREAN