Workers consider job options

Downer tells of opportunities for Infracon staff

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 08:01 29/08/2014
infracon
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

WORRIED WORKERS: Infracon workers listen to their options for employment.

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They sat with their arms crossed as the company that was once their opposition tried to recruit them.

Uncertainty was painted on each face. Many in the room had worked for the same company for 10 years and were now faced with the possibility of having to move elsewhere.

Anaru Woolley, 22, worked as a labourer for Infracon for five years.

He was told on Monday that he no longer had a job. "I don't really know what's going on. All I know is I lost my job and I need to find a new one."

Having a year-old daughter makes the uncertainty around work even harder and has "put a strain on things".

A Christchurch-based company offering work and perks had caught his eye. "I'll just have to go where the work is. You just have to take what opportunities you can, I suppose."

Downer staff spoke of job opportunities, but could not confirm any numbers.

After Infracon went into liquidation, some still have jobs, for now. They work day to day, waiting to hear if they will be signed to a liquidator's agreement.

Rickie Payne and Lisa King were at the seminar "just in case". They have kept their jobs.

King works as a labourer, cleaning the streets and emptying the rubbish bins. "It all has to get done, but for how long I don't know."

She drives from Palmerston North to Woodville every day for work.She knows there is a chance she will be told to turn back around.

Tararua District Mayor Roly Ellis said the parks and reserves work would either be put up for tender or brought in-house.

He could not give a time frame.

Payne, who works as a mechanic for the company, said the hardest part about the whole thing was the sudden absence of his mates. "You miss a lot of the staff that aren't there."

It is nothing new to him. Five companies Payne has worked for have gone under. All you can do is move on, he says. But this one has been particularly tough.

"It's a bit harder now because I'm 56. I was a lot younger then. It sort of affects your heart . . . how you feel.

"It makes the day longer, harder to get motivated, to get started."

He has always managed to find work and isn't opposed to moving.

Move on and hope for the best, he says.

"Nothing else you can do."

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- Manawatu Standard

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