Solid Energy restructure hits head office

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 15:54 30/08/2012

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Solid Energy's restructuring means more than one in four staff at the company's head office in Christchurch will lose their jobs.

More than half of the 200 staff employed in Christchurch will have to reapply for positions as the troubled company looks to drastically cut costs in tough economic times.

The miner says that coal prices have dropped more than 40 per cent since a peak in the first two quarters of 2011, as demand from China slowed and United States producers made coal available at cheaper prices.

Vicki Blyth, a spokeswoman for the state-owned coal miner, said 108 roles at the Christchurch office were disappearing. Up to 50 new roles would be created, and advertised internally to those that had lost jobs.

As a result, 65 head office-based roles would be axed.

She noted that not all the 200 head office jobs are corporate positions, with other non-operational jobs including a communications team, project managers and coal marketing and logistics teams.

"It's fair to say the proposed changes to the structure of the organisation touch just about every corner of those corporate type functions and a good number of areas aside," Blyth said.

Solid Energy senior manager Barry Bragg is one of those that have lost a job.

He will not be reapplying for any new roles with Solid Energy, and will leave the company in February.

The company - which is to announce its full year result tomorrow and was mentioned as a potential candidate for a Government sell down until Finance Minister Bill English cut the process short citing deep concerns - has around 1650 direct employees.

It also employs around 300-plus contractors at mines including Spring Creek on the West Coast, and Huntly East and Rotowaro in the North Island. Contractors at Spring Creek and Rotowaro both number about 130.

Yesterday the company announced nearly 200 job cuts, with another 370 jobs in doubt at Spring Creek, in development near Greymouth.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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