Job cuts at the Huntly East Coal Mine could shut down the entire operation in the long run, a union is warning.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) has spoken out ahead of the Solid Energy board meeting today which will look over the proposal to cut 120 jobs at the mine.
The Waikato Times has previous reported Solid Energy had proposed cutting further capital investment in upgrading ventilation at Huntly East.
This would see the mine's staff reduced by 63 from 234 positions to 171.
About 60 mainly contracting roles directly related to the mine's ventilation upgrade project would also be lost.
EPMU have said the mine could be forced to stop operating within two years if redundancies and plans to cancel the mine ventilation project go ahead.
EPMU assistant national secretary Ged O’Connell said miners fear Solid Energy is gambling with the future of the mine in the pursuit of short-term savings.
"Solid Energy has presented these redundancies as a simple reduction of headcount at the mine but what they’re actually doing is cutting the ventilation project needed to ensure the future of the mine, and that puts everyone’s jobs at risk.’’
"Our members are obviously deeply concerned about the future of the mine and feel as though Solid Energy’s pulling the rug out from under them,’’ O’Connell said.
"It’s crucial that Solid Energy considers the long-term future of the mine and the impact on the community, and we’ll be asking the Government that it does the same.”
Solid Energy communications manager Bryn Somerville would not comment on the claims made by EPMU or the outcome of the scheduled board meeting.
We’re in the middle of a process and that process has not yet finished, we haven’t got to that point yet,’’ he said.
"When we do, the first people we will contact is those who are involved.’’
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