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Summit Wool Spinners To Close At Cost Of 192 Jobs

Joint media release: EPMU & FIRST Union
Thursday January 31, 2013

Summit Wool Spinners To Close At Cost Of 192 Jobs

Summit Wool Spinners has this afternoon informed staff it will close its Oamaru plant, citing the high exchange rate as a contributing factor.

The closure will affect all 192 workers at the site including management.

Summit Wool Spinners has sold the plant to Godfrey Hirst subsidiary Canterbury Spinners Limited, which operates plants in Lower Hutt and Dannevirke.

A closure date had not been finalised but it will be some time around the end of February.

Members of the EPMU and FIRST Union were told of the decision at a site meeting at 3.30pm this afternoon. The workers will receive redundancy compensation through their union collective agreements.

EPMU organiser John Gardner said that like many other manufacturing firms, Summit had been hit hard by the high New Zealand dollar.

“Summit is the second largest employer in Oamaru and has been a part of the town for 130 years. These redundancies are devastating for staff and for the whole community of Oamaru which relies so heavily on these jobs.

“Summit has been a very good employer and didn’t want to make these redundancies, but the government’s refusal to act on the overvalued exchange rate or provide any kind of strategy for manufacturing means they were left with few options.”

Paul Watson, FIRST Union Textiles Secretary, said the textile industry was facing difficult times, and Summit’s announcement followed the closure of a Norman Ellison Carpets factory in Onehunga last year with 80 job losses.

“This must serve as an urgent wakeup call for the government to be more proactive in its support for manufacturing. Manufacturers have been completely let down and workers have paid the price for this inaction through job losses.”

The announcement comes as hearings got underway this week in a Parliament Inquiry into Manufacturing. Manufacturing is New Zealand’s third largest employing industry and has lost 40,000 jobs in the last four years.


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