This has been a bad week so far for job losses. Yesterday, KiwiRail said that 158 staff will lose their jobs. Many of these people are engineering staff. Also Solid Energy, which owns coal mines, will close Spring Creek in Greymouth with a loss of 222 staff and another 130 contractors who work at the mine. Another 180 workers at the Huntly coal mine will also lose their jobs. Solid Energy will also cut about 150 administrative jobs. Both Greymouth and Huntly are small towns where it will be almost impossible to find another job. Spring Creek mine has lost $100m since it was set up in 2007. Asia no longer wants so much coal for steel production.
These job losses are added to earlier ones. Last week the chemical company Nuplex said they will cut 60 jobs in New Zealand and Australia because of the high Kiwi and Australian dollars. The Kiwi dollar now buys 82.7 US cents.
Also, the aluminium smelter in Southland will cut 100 jobs because there is less demand for aluminium, and the paper mill in the Bay of Plenty will cut 120 jobs because newspapers do not need so much paper these days.
On the bright side, there will be jobs in the near future with the Christchurch re-build after the earthquake. It is not clear where construction workers will live as there is a shortage of housing in Christchurch at the moment.
contractor – an independent worker who is contracted by the company to do a specific job e.g. do some electrical work
administrative jobs e.g. office jobs
steel production – making steel
aluminium (Br Eng) – aluminum (Am Eng) – mixture of some metals used for beer cans and foil
smelter – melting metals
less demand – not so many people want to buy something (opposite: strong demand)
paper mill – factory which makes paper (a flour mill makes flour from wheat, a timber mill makes timber from wood etc)