Spring Creek miners march to Parliament

By Kieran Campbell

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) delegate Trevor Bolderson. Photo / Ross Setford
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) delegate Trevor Bolderson. Photo / Ross Setford

Miners facing the axe at Solid Energy's Spring Creek and Huntly East operations say a march on Parliament tomorrow is about more than saving their jobs.

The miners will plead with the Government for a $36 million one-off payout to keep the Spring Creek mine open, a union delegate told Radio New Zealand.

Workers say they have drafted a plan with local management to keep the mines open and save "the communities that depend on them".

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) delegate Trevor Bolderson, who works at Spring Creek, said he hoped the Government would meet with the miners.

He said he expected about 70 of the 230 Spring Creek workers to lose their jobs when the mine announced its review of the operation.

"We're travelling to Wellington because we want the Government to understand what closing Spring Creek will mean for the local community," he said.

"This isn't just about our jobs, it's about providing a future for Greymouth."

Mr Bolderson said their plan showed Spring Creek was viable but relied on Government funding "to get the mine through the next year or two".

"We're hoping to make them see that the economic and human cost of closing Spring Creek would be unconscionable."

Brian Lynch, an EPMU delegate at Huntly East, said his community faced long-term damage if the Government did not act.

"Solid Energy's proposal to cancel the Huntly East ventilation project is a very risky and short-term saving strategy that could force the mine to stop production within two years.

"There are hundreds of jobs at stake here and we'll be encouraging the Government to see the bigger picture."

The miners plan to arrive at Parliament at midday tomorrow and say they have had no confirmation that the Government will meet them.

The EPMU says the miners have paid for the trip through community donations and their own funds.

- APNZ

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