Building products maker Boral is cutting 90 jobs as it suspends some manufacturing at a Victorian cement plant in favour of imports.
About 90 staff at the Waurn Ponds cement plant near Geelong will be affected by the suspension of clinker manufacturing, a product used in cement.
The Australian Workers' Union (AWU) says it will work with the company to try and save as many jobs as possible.
Boral intends to import clinker, due to the high Australian dollar and low shipping costs, and use the plant as a cement milling facility.
Talks will be held with the workers over coming weeks to explore all options to avoid or mitigate job losses, and to organise redundancies or redeployment within the company, Boral said.
"A continued low level of demand associated with the downturn in Australian building and construction activity is also adversely impacting the profitability of Boral's cement business, where high fixed cost manufacturing assets continue to be under utilised," Boral chief executive Mike Kane said in a statement.
"Across all of our businesses we need to ensure that we are aligning our domestic production with demand levels, and that our cost structures are globally competitive and can be sustained through the cycle."
The changes are part of a company-wide review to identify potential cost reductions, and the outcome of that will be revealed in February, Mr Kane said.
AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem said it was understood the first round of redundancies would be over by April.
"There is never a good time of year for such an announcement, but coming up to Christmas makes it particularly distressing for our members," he said.
"We have only just started talking, but it would seem that plans are for a possible ongoing workforce at the Waurn Ponds site of just 20 people.
"Our job now is to try and save some of those 90 jobs, and look for redeployment wherever possible."
Morningstar analyst Nathan Zaia said the Boral's decision to import rather than make clinker was inevitable.
"Boral has been somewhat slower than peers, particularly Adelaide Brighton when it comes to substituting locally produced clinker with cheaper imports from Asia, a trend we expect to continue," he said in a note to investors.
"Sure lower shipping rates and a strong $A is lending a hand at the moment - but larger producers in Asia have a permanent advantage on the cloud hovering over Australia in the form of high energy costs, high wages and low productivity."
Boral's shares were half a cent higher at $4.055 at 1124 AEDT.