Engineering company Forgacs has cut a fifth of its 600-strong workforce at Newcastle due to a lack of shipbuilding contracts.
The Newcastle Herald reports that 130 workers lost their jobs on Wednesday and Thursday. About 80 of them were forced redundancies.
One of them, pipe fitter Jason Hall told the Herald he believed Newcastle’s shipbuilding industry would be dead by December.
‘‘I’m uncertain about [where] my life is going to go to from here. I’m a fitter by trade and I’ve never had any trouble getting work in my 30-year working life, but there aren’t any jobs in Newcastle,’’ Hall said.
The company’s Newcastle workforce, which peaked at 900, will now be reduced to about 470.
Forgacs CEO Lindsay Stratton has been warning of “a valley of death” (or time between contracts when shipbuilders have not enough work to sustain themselves) for more than two years.
The company recently dropped out of contention for one significant contract – to build the new Sydney ferries – because it couldn’t find a design partner for the job.
Stratton has previously urged the federal government to bring forward defence contracts, warning that waiting until after the Defence white paper is delivered.
In February, he told the ABC that the Forgacs Newcastle shipyard would close by August 2016 without new work.
Image: Newcastle Herald