Bradken jobs safe for now

Bradken managing director Brian Hodges says the company’s busy Wodonga foundry — a pillar of local manufacturing since 1954 — is safe from global job losses.

Bradken managing director Brian Hodges says the company’s busy Wodonga foundry — a pillar of local manufacturing since 1954 — is safe from global job losses.

BRADKEN’S Wodonga foundry has emerged unscathed from a global loss of jobs in the company.

Managing director Brian Hodges said yesterday the engineering plant in Queen Street was “very busy” in what was a sharply downturned market.

“It happens to be one of only three or four plants globally that we have — a couple in Canada, one in North America and that one in Australia — that are quite busy,” he said.

It was reported this week that Bradken was preparing to axe 500 jobs but Mr Hodges said this was misleading.

“We said that from December last year until the end of next financial year (June 2015) the company looks likely to be lower by 500 people globally to 4700,” he told The Border Mail.

“But we’re already lower than December last year by a couple of hundred people — there’s actually a couple of hundred more people, if you like, over the next 12 months.

“It wasn’t like Bradken was letting 500 people go today.”

Bradken foundry has been a leading manufacturer in Wodonga since 1954 and in recent years has employed about 200.

It supplies items for the mining, freight rail, heavy road transport and power generation industries.

Globally Bradken operates 59 manufacturing, sales and service facilities in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, China, Malaysia, South Africa, Indonesia, South America and Britain.

It said it was tightening its operations as a result of the end of Australia’s mining investment boom.

Mr Hodges said like other Bradken sites around the world, the Wodonga plant had “a really good workforce”.

“We treat them well and when there’s a downturn we have to adjust as we do when there’s an upturn,” he said.

“At the moment and for the short term, because we can’t see forever forward, Wodonga looks in good shape.”

Mr Hodges said any changes in the number of jobs at the Wodonga plant would only be affected in the long term.

“It is a cyclic market. It happens to be low at the moment but Wodonga’s still busy so that’s a really good thing.”

Mr Hodges said Wodonga had always performed well.

“It’s a productive little plant and for many, many years has been well run,” he said.

“The management have done a really good job — the managers were workers themselves who came through the plant,” he said.

Globally, Bradken supplies large heavy metal equipment for machines used by miners.

Last week it announced the closure of a Perth foundry, transferring that work to Brisbane and China.

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