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Meadowfresh staff stunned by closure

Meadowfresh staff stunned by closure

This afternoon’s shock announcement of the closure of the Meadowfresh yoghurt plant in Christchurch sends a clear signal to workers that they should get what they can, while they can, says the country’s largest union.

The plant is owned by Mainland, which was recently taken over by Graeme Hart’s

Rank Group.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little, who represents maintenance workers at the plant, said that the decision to close the plant with the loss of all jobs had been made without consultation with the workers.

“This says to us that when you are dealing with a company like this, you get what you what you can, while you can,” he said.

“This company has made this announcement without any consultation with the workers, or without even giving them any warning that it was likely so that they could prepare themselves.

“The company is acting solely in the interest of shareholders, without any regard for the interests of the workforce.”

Workers at the Russley Rd yoghurt and beverage plant were told late this afternoon that it would shut on October 21, with production and a lot of the equipment moving to the Longburn plant, near Palmerston North. There is also the possibility of job losses at the Blenheim Rd UHT milk plant, which is facing “reorganisation”.

Mr Little said that the workers were stunned by the announcement.

“There is an expectation amongst employers that employees will show enormous loyalty, but it’s incidents like this that show that it is not always reciprocated,” he said.

Mr Hart has also recently bought a majority shareholding in forestry company Carter Holt Harvey, which is currently involved in pay disputes with its workforce.

Ends

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