280 jobs to go as Caterpillar moves manufacturing to Thailand

Mining
manufacturer Caterpillar has announced it will cut around 280 jobs at its
Burnie factory and move some of its production to Thailand.

AAP reports that the company made the announcement last Friday, and would move some of its
processes to the Thai port of Rayong.

William
Oei, a spokesman for Caterpillar, said the decision was not taken lightly, and
was influenced by the downturn in mining.

“As you know, mining industry it’s still going through some
challenges right now, so we need to look at the efficiencies of the manufacturing,” he told the ABC.

“After completing a strategic review of its underground manufacturing
operations Caterpillar Inc informed employees today that it will
transition its hard rock vehicle operations from Burnie, Australia to
Rayong, Thailand.”

The full impact of the job losses was expected to be felt late in the year.

The ABC notes that all manufacturing jobs at the site would go, with jobs in design,
R&D and distribution remaining. About 120 jobs would be kept at the site,
which makes bucket loaders and bumper trucks for underground mining.

The site in
the north-west of Tasmania employed as many as 600 just six years ago.

The Advocate reports that Elphinstone Group was in discussions to see if some of
the jobs could be absorbed by other business activities in the region.

Executive
chairman Dale Elphinstone said he “believe[d] the activities we have
planned for Burnie facilities have the potential to provide continued economic
benefits for the region as they have for the past 40 years”.

Image: Rose Grant