Category: Manufacturing

100 jobs at Juken’s Gisborne mill on the chopping block

Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) has announced a proposal to nearly halve its workforce at their East Coast mill in Gisborne.

E tū represents production workers at the mill. E tū Engineering Industry Coordinator Ron Angel says the move would be a big blow to the community.

“As the only significant wood manufacturer in the area, the livelihood of many family relies on jobs at the mill,” Ron says.

“E tū and FIRST Union will be working hard to save these jobs, but the company is very serious about this proposal.”

The company is entering the consultation period today.

“Once such a consultation begins, it’s very difficult to save the jobs that are on the chopping block. This could be the start of some real hardship for many East Coast families.”

Ron says that this proposed downsize, as well as recent news about the likely closure of ABCorp’s Christchurch plastic card manufacturing plant, demonstrates the need for urgent action from the Government to save our manufacturing industry.

“The Labour-led coalition Government has made a strong commitment to protecting working families and helping with decent regional employment opportunities.

“After nine years of a National Government that treated Kiwi workers as an afterthought, we expect the current Government to step up on these issues as a matter of priority.”

ENDS

FIRST Union President Robert Reid will represent the unions in the media.
For more information or comment, please contact:
Robert Reid – 021 535 933

Dozens to lose jobs as Christchurch card plant set to close

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.”

ENDS

For more info or comment:
Joe Gallagher – 027 591 0015

E tū fights employer moves to undermine minimum wage rise

E tū is very disappointed to learn that some employers are trying to avoid the upcoming minimum wage increase by building workers’ allowances into their basic hourly pay.

The allowances are typically paid for such things as service, travel time and in recognition of shift work.

E tū’s Industry Coordinator Food Sector, Phil Knight says the union believes it may be dealing with a collective employer strategy to undermine a higher minimum wage.

“For employers to move allowances into the basic rate would be to neutralise any increase provided for in the hourly rate effective from 1 April 2018,” says Phil.

“This would undermine workers’ right to fair pay and a reasonable standard of living, especially those on the lowest possible pay rate who are struggling to pay their way now and can’t live on less.”

Phil says E tū is currently bargaining with two employers about this issue, and it is urging workers who are not currently in a union to join so they are protected.

“Union members know not to sign these contracts and they have the union officials available to advise and represent them.

“However, non-union workers won’t be so sure and may think they have no choice but to agree.  They need to know that is not the case, and if they do sign, they are giving away benefits and a minimum wage increase they desperately need.

“Meanwhile, we would say to employers: don’t do this.  It is unreasonable and unfair, and you are only going to make life more difficult for the most disadvantaged workers who have enough problems already.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Phil Knight E tū Industry Coordinator, Food Sector ph. 027 591 0053

 

 

E tū extremely disappointed with MBIE report on cheap Chinese steel

E tū is extremely disappointed with a report which has found there is little evidence of steel dumping in New Zealand by China.

The report details the findings of an enquiry by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment into a complaint by NZ Steel that imported Chinese galvanised steel coil is subsidised, making it hard for New Zealand steel producers to compete.

The report found no evidence of anything more than “minimal” subsidies, with the government announcing it won’t act on the complaint.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says there are serious questions about the rigour of the research underpinning the report.

“Only one Chinese manufacturer responded to questions from the enquiry about subsidies. The Chinese government barely responded either, claiming its steel producers wouldn’t cooperate.

“MBIE admits its findings rest on “very limited information”, their words – then tells us that “on that basis”, it concludes that the Chinese subsidies are minimal.

“This isn’t just disappointing. It’s frightening that the livelihoods of entire communities rest on this poor-quality enquiry and report which shrugs off the failure of key players to answer questions at the heart of the NZ Steel’s complaint.”

Joe says the government’s refusal to act is also “a further kick in the guts” for local steel producers who also face pressure from Emissions Trading Scheme charges and the threat of big price hikes by power industry lines companies.

“There is clear evidence of an over-supply of steel coming in from China at below market prices,” says Joe.

“There are no proper quality checks in China to make sure this steel is of the proper standard, such as are required of NZ Steel, and equally, there are no tariffs on these products.

“It’s not a level playing field,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015.