Wednesday 20 May 2020

NZ's largest construction corporation sheds 1500 workers

This crisis goes far deeper than anyone is willing to admit. 

The government has created $50,000,000,000 out of thin air; 

our tourist industry has been decimated; God knows how 

many small businesses have disappeared and I can't think of 

the last time when the leader of John Key's “rockstar economy”,

Fonterra was so much as mentioned in the media.

Yet no one is talking honestly about this.

Coronavirus: 1500 jobs to go 

at Fletcher Building


More Fletcher Building job cuts could be on the cards and the business would not 
be applying for the second round of the government wage subsidy funding 
because it did not qualify, chief executive Ross Taylor says.

The country's biggest construction company has told the NZX it plans to get rid of 
1500 jobs across New Zealand and Australia.

Taylor called it was a "sombre day". He said Fletcher Building was not interested 
in financial support from the Government.

"It is really important for New Zealand to have strong independent companies and 
it's not sustainable for all the companies in New Zealand to be dependent on 
government subsidies for the long term. It just doesn't work. It is important we are 
independent and on our own two feet."

Fletcher Building has proposed to cull 1000 jobs in New Zealand and 500 in 
Australia, which equates to about 10 per cent of its workforce

Taylor said "no part of the business would be immune to the cuts".

The impact of the Covid-19 restrictions over the past two months was “significant”, 
he said, especially in New Zealand as a result of the level 4 lockdown.

Our New Zealand businesses were closed throughout Level 4, except for small 
parts of the distribution and construction divisions which were asked to provide 
essential services. We shut down over 400 operating sites at the end of March,” 
Taylor said.

Fletcher had suffered a roughly $55 million loss in April in New Zealand and an 
approximately broke even in Australia.

Taylor said if the situation worsened more jobs could be lost.

He said work on Auckland Airport's domestic jet terminal and the SkyCity 
International Convention Centre (NZICC) would be affected.

The NZICC project, that burned for three days last year, was given a new 
completion date of January 2, 2025 earlier this month, but Taylor said there may 
be further delays.

Taylor did not give specifics on which other projects would be impacted.

"We're impacted on our pipe-line projects."

He said social distancing restrictions under level 2 had impacted productivity at its 
Commercial Bay building project.

"Before [level 4 lockdown] we could have about 1800 people now its more like 
800 now.

"You just cannot get as many people as your staff implement social distancing. 
On bigger projects people are generally working on big broad areas so less of 
an issue."

Fletcher Building received $67.68m for 9694 workers from the government wage 
subsidy scheme.

Through the lockdown, it implemented a 12-week pay plan, where staff who were 
not working, or working part-time would receive 65 per cent of their salaries for 
two weeks until April 22. Then salaries would drop 50 per cent for the next 
month, and by 70 per cent the following month.

Fletcher's proposal would have seen senior staff including chief executive Ross T
aylor take a 15 per cent cut, but that was increased to a 30 per cent cut after staff 
said they were bearing the brunt of the financial impacts of Covid-19.

We are beginning consultation with some of our people and unions this week," 
Taylor said.

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