Macraes contractor lays staff off

Last updated 11:39 09/01/2014

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Gough Group will lay off nearly 40 staff next week because of the cut in production at the country's biggest goldmine.

The Christchurch heavy-machinery company's chief executive, Karl Smith, said OceanaGold had ended its "alliance agreement" with Goughs in which Gough staff maintain heavy equipment at the Macraes goldmine in Central Otago.

"What it means is our 38-odd people will be disestablished on January 17," Smith said.

Goughs was offering to cover the costs of moving those staff if they were willing to take up other positions around the country.

Gough had 30 to 40 positions in other places. Most of the Gough staff working at the Macraes mine lived in the area.

Smith said that while the mining industry had been shrinking, work for Goughs was expanding in the infrastructure, forestry and power system sectors, where there were jobs with the company. The jobs were in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier and Hamilton.

Gough had been aware that OceanaGold was reviewing its contract.

"We have kept those positions open," Smith said. "We have consciously made a decision not to fill them till we could see what people from the Macraes mine site would be interested in taking them."

He said a meeting on Tuesday night with staff had been positive, but "clearly if you have friends and family it can be a bit of a wrench".

The Amalgamated Workers Union, the main union on the Macraes site, said up to 200 jobs with OceanaGold and contractors could be lost after the company's decision to reduce production at Macraes.

About 400 positions would remain, union secretary Calvin Fisher said.

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- Fairfax Media

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