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PPCS To Close Oringi And Burnside Plants

27 May 2008

PPCS To Close Oringi And Burnside Plants

PPCS today confirmed that both its Oringi and Burnside processing facilities would close.

PPCS Chief Executive Keith Cooper said that the decision was finalised following the conclusion of consultation processes with employees and their representatives at the two sites.

“We recognise that these decisions have a direct impact on local communities and people’s livelihoods. The hard reality is that these closures are necessary to reduce excess production capacity in the face of a significant ongoing decline in livestock numbers.

“Our ultimate aim is to provide long term sustainability to the business, and to our farmer shareholders going forward."

Mr Cooper said the closure of the Oringi sheep and lamb processing facility near Dannevirke reflected an expected drop in North Island sheep numbers of more than 500,000 over the next three years, attendant with an increase in processing capacity of more than two million head over the past two years.

The closure of the Burnside facility in Dunedin - which processes venison, lambskins and deerskins – was a result of a significant decline in livestock availability and issues with the site related to its age and configuration. PPCS had entered into negotiation for the sale of the 57-hectare site.

National deer numbers are forecast to drop from 736,000 in 2006 to approximately 500,000 by next year while South Island sheep and lamb numbers are forecast to drop by two million in the next year.

The 466 positions at Oringi and 138 positions at Burnside are being made redundant and employees will accordingly receive redundancy entitlements.

Mr Cooper said: “We will be supporting our employees during the transition period over the coming weeks. Resource centres have already been established in Dannevirke and Dunedin. From there employees can access assistance in employment search and a range of support services including CV development, budget advice and counselling.

“We will help find alternative employment for our employees at our other processing facilities where opportunities exist. From next season, we expect to have over 300 seasonal vacancies at our other North Island plants, including 175 positions at Takapau - the nearest PPCS plant to Oringi and around 100 seasonal vacancies at our other South Island plants.

“We will also work closely with Work and Income to assist our people to find alternative work within the local area,” he said.

The Oringi sheep meats and Burnside venison processing facilities are currently in seasonal shutdown and will not re-open. Skin and hide processing and cold storage operations at Burnside will cease by the end of August. Both sites will be decommissioned and sold.

From next season PPCS will process North Island sheep and lamb at its Takapau and Waitotara facilities.

Mr Cooper said: “PPCS North Island sheep and lamb suppliers can be assured that sufficient capacity exists at our other North Island sheepmeats facilities. In addition, we have the ability to increase processing throughput at these sites if required in the future."

From next season PPCS will process South Island venison at its four South Island facilities: Islington, Mossburn, Kennington and Hokitika, which are being geared to process the extra throughput.

“PPCS South Island deer suppliers can be assured that sufficient capacity exists at our other South Island venison facilities. While overall deer numbers are expected to decline, PPCS will be lifting processing throughputs at our other South Island venison plants to accommodate the volumes currently processed at Burnside.

“From next season annual deer processing capacity will increase at Islington to 80,000; at Mossburn to 45,000 and at Kennington to 60,000,” he said.

ENDS

Editor’s Note:

PPCS will provide resource centres for its Oringi and Burnside employees from this week:

* Oringi resource centre. From Thursday 29 May, PPCS will provide a resource centre for Oringi employees at The Hub, Allardyce Street, Dannevirke from 8.00am to 4:00pm. The resource centre is planned to operate until 12 June.

* Burnside resource centre. PPCS will provide a resource centre for Burnside employees in the old administration office at the Burnside plant from 12:00 noon to 4:00pm on Wednesday 28 May, then from 9.00am to 4:00pm weekdays from Thursday 29 May. The resource centre is planned to operate until 6 June.

PPCS has two North Island sheep, bobby veal and goat processing facilities in addition to Oringi:

* Takapau at Waipukurau (1058 employees at peak, processes around 1.6 million sheep annually)

* Waitotara in southern Taranaki (240 employees at peak, processes around 322,000 sheep annually).

PPCS has four South Island venison processing facilities in addition to Burnside:

* Islington near Christchurch (77 employees at peak)

* Kennington near Invercargill (46 employees at peak)

* Mossburn in northern Southland (47 employees at peak)

* Hokitika on the West Coast (44 employees at peak).


ENDS

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