John Holland Aviation Services (JHAS) has announced that it is cutting 230 jobs as it winds back its Melbourne operations and looks at the possibility of selling its Tullamarine facility.
The company blames “current market conditions” for its decision and said the move is consistent with parent company Leighton Group’s strategy to “stabilise, rebase and then grow”.
In a statement John Holland Group Managing Director Glenn Palin said they are focusing on the company’s infrastructure, rail and specialist engineering capabilities.
“We continue to perform well in our key domestic and international operations in tunnelling, water treatment and distribution, heavy marine structures, power transmission, rail and transport concessions. We have internationally recognised specialist engineering capabilities that we are exporting to a number of overseas markets.”
“A number of potential purchasers have previously expressed interest in various parts of our business. Any sale price realised is unlikely to be material to Leighton Holdings and we expect to exit the business by the middle of 2014.”
ABC News reports that a total of 150 airline maintenance jobs will be cut from John Holland’s operations at Melbourne Airport, while other jobs will be lost in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s Victor Jose pins the loss of jobs on John Holland’s inability to secure long-term contracts. The AMWU’s Victorian organiser said that rather than protecting local jobs, local airlines prefer to send work overseas.
“They’ve been trying to get some increased workload from some of the airlines but unfortunately the local airlines prefer to get the majority of the maintenance done on their aircraft overseas,” he said.
“So the reality is that the business wasn’t sustainable with more and more work being taken away from their operations.”
In a related report on The Australian Mr Jose said while the announcement didn’t come as a shock to the workers and their families, it doesn’t make it any easier to take.
“We must remind Australians that these workers have done an incredible job and made sure Australian airlines have the safety record they do,” Mr Jose said.
“These workers performed solid work maintaining aircraft and their skills will be lost to Australia’s airline industry.”