ALMOST 70 workers at a historic Queensland foundry arrived back at work after Christmas break this morning to be told they had lost their jobs.
The ESCO Northgate foundry was shut down immediately this morning, owners ESCO Corporation confirmed.
The business, formerly known as Austcast, was bought out by American mining services group Esco Corporation in late 2010. At the time, the acquisition was expected to give Esco a foothold in Queensland’s booming resource industry services contracts.
A statement from ESCO Corporation confirmed the closure and that up to 69 positions would be lost.
“The plant had a quality workforce making quality products, but a number of factors made it unworkable to operate economically,” said ESCO Corporation Vice President of Global Operations, Engineered Products, Joe Weber.
He said because the Northgate plant was relatively low-volume, when ESCO bought the foundry, it planned to expand production and offset costs with economies of scale.
He said ultimately, expansion turned out not to be feasible.
“It wasn’t any one factor but a series of hurdles that led to the closure.”
ESCO said none of its other operations in Australia or New Zealand would be affected by today’s announcement.
One devastated worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity said many workers had never worked anywhere else.
“It was everybody’s first day back from Christmas and so they got all these bigwigs fly in from America to tell us we don’t have a job,” the worker said.
“Everybody’s faces were white. Some of those workers have worked there their whole life. It’s been there 110 years, it used to take up the whole block.”
In August last year the foundry was fined $120,000 by the Brisbane Industrial Magistrates Court over separate workplace incidents that left two workers with serious arm and shoulder injuries.
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