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AFFCO Signals Job Losses

Meat processor AFFCO Holdings Ltd has announced that further cuts in staff numbers are inevitable as the company intensifies its efforts to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in a season characterised by erratic livestock flows.

Executive Chairman Sam Lewis said the company was embarking on the final stages of its structural and cost review process, which is likely to result in a further reduction of staff in head office support functions from 130 to approximately 65. It is also expected that up to 45 jobs will be lost across the company's eight North Island plants.

Mr Lewis said these moves mean in the past 12 months, AFFCO will have effectively reduced Head Office and international staff numbers by more than two-thirds, including those in off-shore offices.

He said the comprehensive review of the company's structures and operations has demonstrated that the level of costs in the business is not sustainable.

"While it has certainly been an erratic season as far as livestock numbers are concerned, we recognise the need to be competitive across all parts of the season - not just the peak."

Mr Lewis said a limited number of positions would revert back to plant level, but the company had to face the reality that head office staff numbers were too high overall. Some of these positions were being filled by contractors, whose contracts would be terminated as part of this exercise.

"We are determined to take the hard decisions which will make a sustainable difference to our costs and our efficiency," he said.

"It is not easy to confront issues which impact directly on jobs, but we are taking these decisions in the interests of the whole company, and its 3500 employees.

Mr Lewis said staff affected by redundancy would be offered counselling and assistance with finding other employment.

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