25 Nov 2010

Mining employees face uncertain future

9:26 pm on 25 November 2010

The union representing many miners says workers are still reeling after Wednesday's second, devastating blast and some do not want to go underground again.

About 70 members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union attended a meeting in Greymouth on Thursday, which was also attended by non-union members.

Union national secretary Andrew Little says some staff do not want to go near the mine. Others are uncertain about their long-term future in the area because the mine is likely to be closed for months, if not years.

Mr Little says the pay of about 70 workers is confirmed until early January, and in the meantime the union will hold further talks with the mining company.

Chief executive Peter Whittall says company managers met all staff, including those helping at the mine, in Greymouth.

Mr Whittall says workers from the mine and those in other centres are being offered counselling. He is certain that some workers will not return to mining because of concerns about safety.