18 Oct 2008

600 jobs axed at Fletcher Building

6:58 pm on 18 October 2008

Fletcher Building has cut about 600 jobs across its business operations in the past three months as a result of the slowdown of the New Zealand economy.

The company employs about 9,000 people and says the job losses have been in casual, temporary positions and through attrition. It also says there has been a reduction in overtime hours for permanent employees.

The cuts are at PlaceMakers, Winstone Wallboard and Fletcher Construction.

However, a former employee of a business operated by Fletcher Building says fulltime workers have also lost their jobs.

The man, who did not want to be identified, and who worked for roofing company Diamonds, says his fulltime position and about 30 others were made redundant three months ago.

Fletcher Building accepts fulltime positions have been cut, but says redundancies have been a last resort to reduce staff numbers.

General manager for investor relations Phillip King says many factors have contributed to the recent cuts. He suggests the deteriorating economy or a lack of confidence in the property market could be to blame for the job losses.

The company says sales at its retail arms, including PlaceMakers, have dropped following a slowdown in the construction of new homes.

Another building supplies company, ITM, agrees there has been a drop in product sales, and says the industry is being hit hard.

Mr King says the company is uncertain about what will unfold in the next few months but he says it is bracing for more bad news.

He cannot confirm if more jobs will be lost, but says Fletcher Building will be monitoring its business performances to determine its next step.