Caterpillar supplier WesTrac axes 350 jobs

Caterpillar supplier WesTrac will cut 350 jobs as a result of a weaker demand from the resources sector.

Westrac’s owner Seven Group has also lowered its earning guidance, announcing workers across its New South Wales and ACT operations will be slashed as a result of "challenging market conditions", Seven said in a statement.

The restructure of the exclusive dealer of Caterpillar equipment is expected to begin next month.

''It is anticipated that the restructure will result in approximately 350 redundancies across WesTrac's NSW and ACT business, which will be implemented in the next month at an approximate cost of $10 million,'' the company said.

In the last eight months the company has attempted to improve efficiency and productivity but worsening market conditions, particularly in the coal sector where the majority of the company’s work comes from, has resulted in WesTrac failing to deliver “sufficient” results.

"WesTrac Australia's remaining 3500 employees across 30 branches in WA, NSW and ACT are unaffected by the program," the company said.

The news broke after a week of heavy job losses in the mining sector.

Glencore Xstrata said on Thursday it would slash 450 workers from its Newlands and Oaky Creek coalmines in the Bowen Basin.

Earlier last week it cut 46 workers at its Ravensworth mine in the Hunter Valley. It came as part of the company’s ongoing operational review.

Downer announced it is slashing 185 jobs from BMA’s Goonyella Riverside coal mine in Moranbah.

A spokesperson told Australian Mining BMA had advised the mine service contract company they planned to absorb a quarter of pre-strip work at the mine.

Peabody Energy announced it is slashing over 400 contractor jobs across its coal mines in a bid to conduct a ‘repositioning and improvement program’ to reduce costs.

Hastings Deering also axed 200 jobs across its Rockhampton and Mackay sites, attributing it to the mining slowdown.

Caterpillar’s profits slumped 45 per cent in the first quarter on the back of weaker demand from mining customers.

The poor results came on the back of significant job cuts at the company's manufacturing plants in the US, with over 700 workers laid off from factories in South Milwaukee and Illinois.

“In our year-end 2012 financial release, we said the first quarter of 2013 would be challenging, and it certainly was,” Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said at the time.

100 Tasmanian contractor jobs were cut earlier in the year from the company’s Burnie plant, and CAT is already building a Thailand factory.

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