Jobs cut as Keech hit by mining tumble

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 10-Jun-2016

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Twenty-FOUR jobs have been cut by Keech Australia as the award winning Bendigo-based steel castings manufacturer suffers from the downturn in the mining industry.

Chief executive Herbert Hermens yesterday said manufacturing was under strain in Australia “and particularly for companies like Keech that rely largely on the mining industry”.

Keech also missed out on work associated with the $10 billion submarine contract prime minister Malcolm Turnbull awarded to French company DCNS two months ago.

The Bendigo company had a relationship with rival bidder German company ThyssenKrupp and as late as April Dr Hermens said Keech would try and forge a relationship with contract winner DCNS.

Yesterday, he said it was likely the redundancies of a quarter of its workforce would be reversed once there was a boost in sales.

“We have plans in place to improve the situation and are working hard on new product development and diversification in our product mix,” Dr Hermens said.

“We value our staff and the contribution they make to our business but need to adjust our business operations to the current volume.

“We’ve been trying to avoid affecting staff but sadly we have had to make redundancies from permanent positions across the business.”

Dr Hermens said he and senior managers had taken a pay cut in an attempt to relieve pressure on business costs while the downturn in mining affected workload.

The company, which in 2014 won the Endeavour Award for the most innovate company in Australia, has always be diversified, servicing the defence, construction, rail and agriculture industries as well as mining.

“We consider this situation to be a temporary blip for the mining industry but we adjusting our business to this new reality to ensure we are in a sustainable position to respond as the market cycles change,” he said.

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