Hundreds of workers at Boral face an uncertain future after the building products maker announced it would cut 700 staff from its Australian operations.
The announcement comes on the same day that Vodafone revealed it would shut down its Crazy John’s mobile phone operation, resulting in up to 300 job losses, and two days after steelmaker BlueScope announced it was shedding 170 jobs in Victoria.
Australian Workers Union (AWU) national secretary Paul Howes said the job cuts at Boral were a ‘‘shocking start’’ to 2013 for the local manufacturing sector.
Boral said yesterday the 700 redundancies would be made at all levels of its business, with the majority expected to come from managerial and office staff ranks, in a move predicted to save the company $90million a year.
Chief executive Mike Kane said the cuts were needed because Boral had become burdened with excessive overhead costs.
‘‘The review is purposely not focused on sales functions or operational roles and therefore will have no impact on the level or type of services provided to customers.’’
He said the review identified managerial and functional support areas where inefficiencies and duplication have crept in over time.
Of the 700 redundancies, Boral said 200 had already occurred, and the remainder were expected to be completed by March. Boral’s head office in Sydney would bear the brunt of the cuts.
Jobs losses in NSW will make up 40 per cent of the total, with Victoria and Queensland each bearing 20per cent.
Another 12 per cent will come from South Australia, 8 per cent from Western Australia and the rest from Tasmania.
The AWU’s Mr Howes said he suspected the decision was an attempt by the company’s new CEO to impress the board and shareholders by getting a short-term bounce in its share price.
Boral shares surged by more than 10per cent after the announcement.
Federal opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella blamed the federal government for the job losses.
She said ‘‘red tape, higher taxes and increased business burdens’’ had added to costs on the manufacturing sector.