29 Dec 2005

Fiji gold mining company lays off almost a fifth of its employees

11:23 am on 29 December 2005

Fiji's Emperor Gold Mining Company is to lay off 374 workers today from its workforce of about 2,000.

Radio Fiji reports that the redundancies are part of the company's cost cutting measures.

Emperor's general manager, Sean O'Connor, says the employees are not being terminated but being put on extended, unpaid leave.

He says they could be offered re-employment if things improve at the mine.

Mr O'Connor says the employees who are affected will be receiving their letters today.

The redundancies come as the price of gold has reached its highest level ever on the world market.

The minister of labour, Kenneth Zinck, says the government will need to see the evidence of Emperor's inability to continue operating in the present economic climate.