About 50 workers are set to lose their jobs after a prominent plastic card manufacturer has proposed moving operations to Australia.
ABCorp have informed workers of their intention to close their plastic card manufacturing plant in Christchurch by as early as 30 March, after a three-week consultation process.
E tū spokesperson Joe Gallagher said the workers are shocked by the news. While a final decision has not yet been made, the future doesn’t look good.
“It’s really come out of the blue for them and the short consultation period makes us think that the company’s mind is made up,” Joe says.
“Most people will have cards in their wallet that were made at this site. They produce bank cards, ID cards, loyalty cards and a lot more. It’s a real shame that these good kiwi-made products are just the next product to have production moved off-shore.”
Joe says that while the company may offer employment at other sites, this would be unrealistic for most workers.
“Families can’t just up and move to New South Wales. The company has indicated that they may help people find other jobs – we expect them to take the commitment very seriously.”
Joe says that these and other types of jobs could be saved by the Government taking a better look at local procurement, particularly as the closure comes after the company has lost a number of local contracts.
“Our new Government has made a strong commitment to New Zealand workers and their families. We’d like to see a Government-led commitment to local procurement in manufacturing and in fact, across all industries.”
For more info or comment:
Joe Gallagher – 027 591 0015
E tū is saddened by the passing of Jim Anderton, our former Deputy Prime Minister and a huge figure in the Labour Movement.
E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says that Jim’s legacy is a better New Zealand for working people.
“He was bold, hard-working, and courageous. He was known for standing up for what was right, even when it was hard,” John says.
“Workers can thank Jim and the movement he led for policies like four weeks annual leave, the introduction of paid parental leave, and the creation of Kiwibank.
“Jim spent his political career fighting for working people and their families. He had an intrinsic respect and passion for everyday workers, the outcome of which was a powerful voice for workers in parliament, in government, and on the streets.
“The values Jim applied to politics were in many ways exemplary for the wider Labour Movement, particularly as he was so aspirational for a better world.
“The E tū family passes on our condolences to Jim’s wife Carole and their loved ones.”
Nineteen maintenance workers at Silver Fern Farms Takapau are very disappointed that instead of improving their offer after today’s strike action, the company has made the offer even worse.
Before the workers took industrial action, the company had offered a 1.5% increase as back pay for the nine months prior, followed by 2% increase at the time of settlement.
This low offer came despite the company sending out a memo to staff just two weeks ago that stated that “the Company will post a reasonable profit this year and… that the Takapau plant has a large part to play in achieving that.”
The workers rejected the low offer and voted to take strike action to demand an offer that appropriately recognised their hard and important work.
However, the company has now withdrawn their offer of back pay, apparently demonstrating no desire to give the workers the modest increases they are requesting. The workers have also been suspended for the duration of their industrial action.
E tū organiser Laurel Reid says that the workers are not deterred.
“The 19 maintenance workers were unwavering out on the picket line today, even under a thundery sky, with every intention of continuing to fight for fair recognition of their hard work,” Laurel says.
“The company are playing hardball – that much is clear. But we won’t back down until a fair offer is on the table.”
Media are invited to the picket line tomorrow.
For more information or comment: Laurel Reid – 027 591 0024