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Huntly miners pay price for Government inaction

August 15, 2013

Huntly miners pay price for Government inaction

It is a national scandal that mining jobs are being ripped out of Huntly at the same time New Zealand Steel and Genesis Energy are importing coal from overseas, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The EPMU has repeatedly called for a national jobs strategy and says Huntly is once again paying the price for the Government’s lack of action.

EPMU national secretary Bill Newson says the Government needs to explain why miners are being put out of work at the same time major companies are importing coal.

“Miners and their families have every right to be angry about today’s decision and they’re right to blame the Government for failing to back Kiwi jobs.

“These miners aren’t being put out of work because there’s no demand. They’re being put out of work because New Zealand Steel and Genesis Energy are using imported coal.

“The Government needs to explain why the publicly-owned Huntly power station is importing coal from Indonesia while miners are being laid off just across town.

“The Government must also explain why it is not using the Christchurch rebuild to promote the New Zealand steel and coal industries. It makes no sense for New Zealand to be importing Chinese steel and Indonesian coal while Kiwis get sent to the dole queue.

“This is why New Zealand needs a national jobs strategy. How many more communities need to be ripped apart before the Government realises leaving it to the market doesn’t work?”

Today’s announcement of 93 redundancies comes on top of the 63 jobs losses at Huntly East last year.

EPMU members at Huntly East are entitled to a redundancy package as part of their collective employment agreement.


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