from todays Central Western Daily
STAFF at a major Bathurst employer face an uncertain future after Downer EDi yesterday announced a major review of its operations.
About 100 employees could be out of work before Christmas if the rail company goes ahead with plans to close its Bathurst operation.
Company executives yesterday notified Bathurst staff they were starting a 20-day period of consultation on plans to move all Bathurst work to its Cardiff site near Newcastle and Newport plant in Victoria.
In a memo to staff, the company said it had been working on a draft strategy for the business that included a “review of our markets in Australia, what the future growth opportunities are and how we can best meet them”.
“Upon examination of our market and where our customers are located it became clear that there may be an opportunity to relocate the work currently carried out at Bathurst to Cardiff and Newport and/or other sites,” the memo said.
“The principle drivers motivating this consideration are: significantly lower volumes coming through the Bathurst facility; the need to optimise existing Downer Rail facilities across the state as part of our operations review, and; the need to reduce the costs and overheads across the Downer Rail business.”
Head of corporate services Michael Sharp, who was in Bathurst yesterday to deliver the news to staff, said the Bathurst operation maintained locomotives and rail traction motors.
It employs around 100 full-time boilermakers, electrical mechanics, spray painters, fitters and administrative staff.
EDi management will hold their first meeting with the Bathurst consultative committee on Tuesday and will then set out a timetable for future meetings.
A final decision on the proposed closure is due to be made on October 31, though the company said that date could change based on feedback during the consultation period.
“We understand that this is unsettling news and may cause a level of uncertainty,” the memo said.
“We are committed to consult with you and stress again that we will work closely with you to ensure that your views are heard.”