August 1, 2006
Feltex sale good news – for now
Workers at Feltex Carpets are glad they still have jobs – but are worried about their long-term futures, says the union representing the company’s maintenance workers.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that today’s announcement that Australian company Godfrey Hirst would take over the iconic New Zealand carpet manufacturer was good short-term news, but did not provide any long-term assurances.
“Feltex workers have been through difficult times and have feared that the factories would close in the face of extreme debt,” he said.
“Today’s announcement that the company is being bought has given them some short-term relief, but there is nothing in the statement from Feltex about Godfrey Hirst having a long-term commitment to manufacturing in New Zealand.”
Mr Little said that the Feltex predicament highlighted the EPMU’s concerns about the quality of management in New Zealand.
“Feltex is a good business that has been badly managed,” he said.
“It has good orders and produces great products, but is the victim of some bad management decisions. Unfortunately, it is the workers and shareholders who are paying the price for those decisions.”
Many of the workers have had their take-home pay cut through reduced hours.
Mr Little said that EPMU officials would meet company representatives on Monday to discuss the implications of the sale.