Otago wool firm cuts jobs
Wed, 06 Jun 2012 7:14p.m.
One of north Otago’s biggest employers is cutting jobs at its Oamaru plant.
North Otago company Summit Wool Spinners is going ahead with plans to shed a fifth of its workforce.
The company confirmed 49.5 redundancies at its Oamaru plant, unions said.
"While it is good news that we are not dealing with a full plant closure, Summit is one of North Otago's biggest employers and these job losses will be felt throughout the region," FIRST Union textiles secretary Paul Watson said.
The union is blaming the high New Zealand dollar, which reduces returns to exporters, even though the New Zealand dollar traded to a six-month low during May.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) called on the Government to protect jobs in the manufacturing sector.
The supplier of yarn for carpets and rugs had a workforce of 250 people before the redundancies were signalled, the Otago Daily Times reported in May.
EPMU national secretary Bill Newson says many of its members were already considering moving out of the region to find work, with many of them looking to Australia.
"It's time the Government recognised that its hands-off approach isn't working. The high dollar is killing our exporters, and we're only going to see more job losses like this unless the Government steps up with a coherent strategy to support firms struggling with the economic downturn," he said.
The unions said shifts have been restructured at the plant to protect the incomes of remaining staff.
The wool sector is also suffering from competition from other fibres.
Summit Wool Spinners is 100 per cent owned by Sumitomo Corp. It is New Zealand's largest independent yarn spinner, according to its website.
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