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500 Jobs to Go With Smelter Closure

Employees of the Norsk Hydro plant were told this morning that the plant has lost around $35 million this year and is expected to continue losing up to $7 million a month.
Earlier this year the company shed 150 jobs and closed one potline due to the high production costs, the impact of the Australian dollar and low world aluminium prices.
The secretary of the Australian Workers Union's Newcastle branch, Richard Downie, says the closure of the entire plant will be a devastating blow for the region.
"I feel so much for all wages and staff employees up there," he said
"We've been waiting on tenterhooks now since the announcement of the closure of potline one.
"We're just devastated, but you can't argue against the economic factors that the company's putting to us."
The smelter currently employees 344 workers, but the closure would also affect hundreds of contractors.
Norsk Hydro says the consultation process with unions and workers will take up to three months.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr says the closure will have a massive impact on the Kurri community, with hundreds of other jobs that relied on the smelter also likely to go.
"There's been a lot of research and investigation gone into the potential impacts of the Hydro smelter closing," he said.
"Five hundred jobs out there at Hydro and for every job at Hydro they talk about, three flow-on jobs in the immediate vicinity.
"The other thing about Hydro, they specifically and deliberately employ locally, so we're talking about people from Kurri and Maitland and Cessnock and the surrounding suburbs."


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