KEECH Australia has shed 19 full-time jobs at its Bendigo sites, blaming a “massive reduction” in demand for mining products in Australia.
The company informed staff across their business divisions today, affecting staff in sales, production, innovation, marketing and the 3D printing business.
The job losses are effective immediately.
A further five jobs were lost at other Keech sites in Australia, taking total job losses at the business to 24.
The company has cut 25 per cent from its employment costs, including no longer using casual labour and a reduction in senior management salaries, including chief executive officer Herbert Hermens.
Dr Herbert Hermens said demand had dropped significantly in the last three to six months.
He said the business had taken all measures possible to avoid job losses.
“Keech had been able to stave off this action due to our focus on innovation and production efficiency, however conditions over the last quarter have deteriorated,” Dr Hermens said.
“We consider this situation to be a temporary blip for the mining industry, but we are adjusting our business to this new reality to ensure we are in a sustainable position to respond as the market cycle changes.”
The job losses bring the number of people employed at Keech Australia in Bendigo down to 130.
Keech manufactures, supplies and exports wear parts for the mining industry. The company will now have a “renewed focus” in supplying the construction and agriculture industries.
Dr Hermens said he was “very optimistic” about the company’s future supplying the construction industry.
The business suffered a setback earlier this year with the awarding of the Australian submarine contract to French company DCNS. Keech had a strong relationship with the German bidder.
But Dr Hermens said the submarine contract was not a factor in the job losses.
“The benefits of being involved in that contract would not have flown for six to nine years,” he said.
The company has been manufacturing steel castings for the global mining industry for more than 80 years.
Dr Hermens said Bendigo remained a good place to operate a high-tech business.
“Bendigo is a great place to work from, whether you are in the city or in the country you will encounter challenges,” he said.
Counselling service will be available to affected staff.