Mining manufacturer cuts jobs in the Hunter Valley

Sandvik has cut jobs at its Heatherbrae manufacturing and support facility eight months after opening the site, and will shut its Rocklea operations.

The site, which was one of Sandvik's largest manufacturing, assembly, and distribution centres in the world, announced that it was cutting 15% of its blue collar workforce from the facility, according to the Maitland Mercury.

The move will result in the loss of 36 jobs, and comes a week after it layed off around 80 contractors.

It is part of the company's push to reduce its workforce by 650 employees globally.

According to the mining machinery maker it will also close its Rocklea operations, and cut contractors, explaining that "third-party contracts with more than 350 individuals will be terminated".

Australian Workers Union Newcastle spokesperson John Boyd told the Mercury that “they’ve made 36 employees redundant and called for expressions of interest from the employees site-wide and we’re hoping they will get 36 volunteers so that no one will be forcibly retrenched".

“Five white-collar employees were made redundant [earlier in the week] and there is a possibility of another eight employees coming out of the warehouse.”

The AMWU was unavilable for comment at the time of publishing.

Sandvik officially opened the manufacturing facility in March.

In launching the project the company said the manufacturing of Australian designed, developed, and built products would lay at the heart of the new centre.

As an integrated site, the Hunter Valley operation replaced six Sandvik facilities at Tomago, Mayfield, Caves Beach, Redhead, and two at Hexham and was predicted to employ around 600 workers and contractors.

Added expansions expected to boost that number to around 750 employees/contractors as the site outsourced fabrication of its parts to nearby businesses.

The site's total turnover was expected to reach $200-300 million a year, including manufacturing, repairs and refurbishments, and spare parts.

This is not the first mining equipment manufacturer to lay off staff.

Workers at mining manufacturer CQMS Razer will take enforced leave over Christmas as the company shuts down in an effort to stem losses.

The shutdown follows the company’s recent move to axe 20 workers, and more jobs may be set to go when the company reopens next year.

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