More evidence of just how heavily the jobs crisis continues to weigh on the PM’s mind came yesterday when Kevin Rudd jumped off the RAAF and made a beeline to the depressed Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren to launch a $950 million jobs and training initiative.

Federal ministers are now backtracking on Treasury’s prediction of a 7% unemployment rate by June next year with a double-digit figure almost certain. But as Glenn Dyer points out elsewhere in today’s edition, the underemployment rate is the real figure to keep an eye on with 13.4%, or 1.475 million Australian workers, seeking more work according to Roy Morgan research.

Meanwhile, ANZ data out this morning has confirmed the enveloping gloom, with online and newspaper jobs ads declining by a record 45% over the past year and 8.5% in March.

Since Crikey published its sixth SackWatch update last week, the tips box has again been running rampant with fresh tales of shoulder-tapping in businesses across the nation.

Have you or someone you know been sacked? Send your tales of job cut woe to [email protected] with “sackwatch” in the subject field and we’ll keep the list updated as a handy HR reference point.

Nissan: Dandenong head office said to shed 20% of its staff with full entitlements under threat, according to a source.

Sandvik Mining and Construction: 70 retrenchments Australia-wide after the firm sacked 32 staff in March. Plans to move Mining equipment manufacturing operation to new built facility in China later this year, axing a further 80 jobs in Newcastle.

Futuris Automotive: Supplier to Holden says it will cut 90 staff because of the carmaker’s decision to halve shifts

Job Network: Last week’s announcement that only 72% of current providers have had their contracts renewed puts the heat on excluded operators, leading to hundreds or perhaps thousands of redundancies

Ernst & Young: Have laid off over 100 staff from its Melbourne office, according to multiple sources

SAP Australia: 40 employees gone over the last month, part of a global plan to retrench 3000 staff worldwide in response to the global credit crunch. In Australia, even staff with current clients have not been spared the chop

Eastmon and Rabbit: Photo processing outlets will be shutdown nationwide sometime this year, according to a source. Only some staff have been told of the closures.

Yaffa Publishing: Australia’s largest independent magazine publisher based in Sydney (think AdNews, Australian Defence Magazine, Fishing World, Nature & Health, to name a few), has suffered a 20% drop in advertising revenue in the past twelve months. It recently closed its Melbourne office and sacked four full-time staff working there. With other capital city offices still in operation, more bad news is expected.

BlueScope steel: Western Port steelworks in Victoria will stop production over Easter, the second temporary shutdown at the plant in recent months with staff told to double their annual leave on half pay.

The steel industry: Australian Workers Union says of up to 1,000 steelworkers are under threat as global demand dives

Fairfax Media: Kalgoorlie’s Golden Mail closed with six staff members laid off

National Australia Bank: 110 customer facing full-time branch jobs to be axed across its network with over 1,000 back office and technology jobs under threat, according to the Finance Sector Union.

Maunsell AECOM: laid off 40 staff from their Melbourne office on the Tuesday before Christmas. Many of the redundancies were former Earthtech staff, who never received back paid salary increases that had been promised. Further sackings took place during March in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. It is rumoured that the company was required to cut costs by 10%

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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