Heavy machinery services company WesTrac has started the process of sacking workers from its Perth operations. In all, over 400 are expected to be made redundant.
WesTrac is owned by Seven Group Holdings. The ABC reports that the head of Seven Group Holdings Don Voelte said that it was necessary for the company to cut the workers because of the downturn in the mining sector.
Voelte said that demand for heavy machinery has dropped as mining companies have cut their expenditure on capital and maintenance.
"Bottom line is we have to respond to the miners and not as much business and we have to do it more cost effectively," he said.
"I think the issue is that we have to save the jobs, so 440 positions that you mentioned out of over 3,000 positions, we have to protect the other 2,500 jobs to make sure that we have a viable business and that those jobs are more secure."
According to the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), as many as 75 apprentices are likely to be among those who are sacked.
The AMWU says that the sackings are taking place in a fenced-off section of the company's headquarters in Guildford. Workers are being told of their fate and then being told to leave.
Earlier this week, Seven Group Holdings announced that the current Chairman of Woodside Energy, Jarvas Croome will head up WesTrac from April 2014.