THE Hunter’s manufacturing industry took another hit yesterday, after rail manufacturer Downer EDI said it was cutting almost 200 workers from its operations in Cardiff.
About 80 full-time employees and 110 contract staff will leave the company because of the completion of its contract to build a 78 eight-carriage Waratah train fleet for the NSW government.
Downer spokesman Michael Sharp confirmed the news yesterday, saying the last of the trains was due to be delivered in May.
He said staff were told about the potential for job cuts early last month, and were invited to apply for the remaining jobs.
‘‘About 190 jobs are affected in total, including about 110 contract workers whose contract was directly linked to the Waratah project,’’ he said.
‘‘There are also about 80 redundancies. This includes about 20 people who have already accepted a voluntary redundancy and about 50 people who were informed today that their application for an ongoing position at Cardiff had been unsuccessful.
‘‘Another 10 redundancies will take effect over the next fortnight.’’
The jobs affected are mixed trades including electricians, boilermakers and painters.
Last November, another rail manufacturer, UGL, let 43 workers go from its Broadmeadow operations.
UGL said at that time it had been hoping for work from the state government, a move pushed by unions such as the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.
AMWU secretary Tim Ayres has consistently called on the government to provide work for companies such as Downer EDI by commissioning overdue fleet upgrades.
However, Mr Sharp did not want to comment on the subject, saying only that EDI still held contracts with NSW Transport, including a 30-year contract for the maintenance of the Waratah trains
Downer will still employ about 120 workers in Cardiff, and Mr Sharp said those workers would continue to undertake passenger and freight train maintenance.