EDI Downer’s operation at Kelso in Bathurst ceased production yesterday and the company’s 14 remaining staff members lost their jobs.
The Western Advocate reports that the soon to be redundant workers shared a barbecue breakfast together, packed up, and headed home at about lunchtime.
EDI Downer will now consolidate its operations at Cardiff near Newcastle. The company claims that the plant closure will save it $6 million.
Up until yesterday, the remaining workers were involved in maintaining locomotives and rail traction motors. However, at one point, the factory employed about 96 people, including boilermakers, electrical mechanics, spray painters, fitters and admin staff.
The company announced its intentions to shut the factory in October last year.
Speaking to the Western Advocate, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union site delegate and machine shop supervisor Andrew Dundas summed up the feelings of the workers.
“The mood was pretty sombre, but it has been that way for the last two weeks. It’s a difficult sort of thing to grasp,” he said.
“We had more than 90 workers here back in October last year, but everyone was slowly put off bit by bit.”
According to Downer EDI spokesperson Michael Sharp, most of those workers accepted redundancy. However, half a dozen chose to move to Cardiff to take up jobs in production.
Explaining the fact that most workers did not decide to make that move, Mr Dundas said, “While they were offered jobs in Newcastle, a lot of people have families, mortgages and kids here, they are based here and it is difficult to go.”