180 lose jobs as PSG folds

A ONCE iconic Tasmanian company has collapsed under the weight of debt carried by its interstate partners.

About 180 Tasmanian staff, mostly from Devonport, turned up to work at electrical contractor Pacific Services Group yesterday to learn they'd lost their jobs.

Nationally about 600 PSG workers were axed after the firm was placed in administration and receivership. 

In Tasmania the collapse could have implications for the roll-out of the NBN and the installation of Aurora power meters both of which PSG was active in. 

Tasmanian workers were left shell shocked by the developments. 

``We got told that we had been terminated effective immediately,'' a employee said.

``Everyone is devastated.'' 

Workers were told the Queensland and Northern Territory divisions of the company had lost around $150 million.

 ``They were trying to secure international loans to continue trading on the weekend but that fell through,'' the man said. 

`` The company handled it poorly we think they knew and waited until the last possible minute to tell us.''

The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union is furious about how it's been handled. 

It's understood workers won't be paid for last week's work until redundancies, to be funded by the federal government, come through in several months. 

Union state secretary Trevor Gauld said it was unclear if the workers' superannuation and annual leave would be recovered. 

``We're hopeful that an employer in Tasmania will pick up their work and those employees who have been affected,'' he said. 

``But it's obviously very uncertain times for these workers.''

Administrator PPB Advisory, appointed late Monday, said it was quickly trying to understand PSG's financial position. 

``We will do everything in our power to secure Fair Entitlements Guarantee funding and process employee claims as quickly as possible,'' a statement said. 

A private equity firm has appointed receivers Kordamentha to recover its debt.

PSG, which was involved with the Bass Link project, was formed in 2006 after the merger of electrical contractors from around Australia including Tasmania's Russell Smith Electrical. 

Russell Smith founder Mac Russell told The Examiner it was a sad day

``There a lot of very good people and a lot of very capable people . . . so it certainly is pretty bad,'' he said. 

``Particularly when the Tasmanian part of PSG was such a good, strong, capable component and commercially successful.''

The federal and state governments said they were concerned by the job losses. 

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