WesTrac sacks 60 apprentices, union claims 457 workers stay on

Amongst the hundreds of job cuts WesTrac has made this month, the Australian Manufacturing Workers union says dozens of first and second year apprentices have lost their jobs.

The heavy machinery services company started the process of sacking workers from its Perth operations this week. In all, over 400 are expected to be made redundant.

According to the ABC, about 60 apprentices, including diesel mechanics and boilermakers were made redundant this morning.

Third year apprentices have been given until January 10 to finish their training.

An AMWU spokesperson said affected workers have six months to secure another apprenticeship role before their training is no longer recognised by the state’s training centre.

Steve McCartney from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union claims the company is favouring foreign workers ahead of apprentices.

“The workers are angry, there are a few questions that they can’t understand, why are they still using 457 labour and sacking Western Australian labour?

“But I think most of the anger is around why can’t these kids keep their jobs?”

WesTrac’s parent company, Seven Group Holdings earlier this week said the job cuts are necessary for it to survive the downturn.

SGH boss Don Voelte said that demand for heavy machinery has dropped as mining companies have cut their expenditure on capital and maintenance.

“Bottom line is we have to respond to the miners and not as much business and we have to do it more cost effectively,” he said.

“I think the issue is that we have to save the jobs, so 440 positions that you mentioned out of over 3,000 positions, we have to protect the other 2,500 jobs to make sure that we have a viable business and that those jobs are more secure.”

The AMWU says that the sackings are taking place in a fenced-off section of the company’s headquarters in Guildford. Workers are being told of their fate and then being told to leave.

Earlier this week, Seven Group Holdings announced that the current Chairman of Woodside Energy, Jarvas Croome will head up WesTrac from April 2014.

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