November 11, 2002
Liddell backs out of Kinleith dispute
Carter Holt Harvey chief executive Chris Liddell is refusing to get involved in the Kinleith dispute.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is deeply worried about what is going on at the mill, and sought a meeting with Mr Liddell in a bid to resolve the situation.
But in a letter to EPMU Auckland regional secretary Mike Sweeney, Mr Liddell said that he would not meet the union.
“I don’t see any merit in meeting to have a parallel set of discussions on Kinleith,” he said. “I have total confidence in Brice (Kinleith manager Brice Landman) and his team and clearly you should continue to work with them. If there are flaws in their logic, you need to convince them.”
Carter Holt Harvey wants to get rid of nearly half the workforce at the Kinleith pulp and paper mill, in a move which will include contracting out mill maintenance.
In a letter to Mr Liddell, Mr Sweeney said that the CEO had to accept responsibility for what was happening at Kinleith.
“The flagship of Carter Holt Harvey, and the lives of many workers, are damaged,” he said.
“I attribute this to the policies you favour. You have insisted upon the implementation of a plan to dispossess hundreds of workers of their employment, and to deprive the mill of their experience. You have permitted your mill managers to behave in less than good faith towards these people and have made no apology for that behaviour.”
Mr Sweeney said that the union would continue to seek a meeting with Mr Liddell.
“The issues at Kinleith are not irreconcilable,” he said. “The gap between us is very small, and there is room for it to be closed altogether, enabling the company and employees to prosper. Surely, this is something which warrants Mr Liddell’s investigation and support.”