Families of staff at two engineering companies in Taranaki face a bleak Christmas following the announcement of more than 50 redundancies.
Australian-owned DownerTennix has told staff it is closing its Carrington Street plant in New Plymouth next month, shedding about 40 jobs.
Gas detection company Entec also announced 12 redundancies.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union organiser Ross Henderson said the job losses were a bitter pill to swallow at this time of the year.
"With the downturn within this industry, it doesn't seem that there's much of an opportunity locally to be re-engaged with a new employer - especially this time of year. Employers aren't probably looking for new employees right here and now."
Mr Hendserson blamed the downturn on a combination of reduced dairy payouts and lack of oil and gas contracts.