27 February 2013
Summit Wool Spinners update
This week is Summit Wool Spinners' final week of operation. Workers are finishing this week, and await decisions from Godfrey Hirst owned Canterbury Spinners on the future of the plant.
FIRST Union Textiles Secretary Paul Watson said Summit's decision to close the plant was a huge blow for North Otago.
"Summit made a significant contribution to Oamaru. It has long been the town's major employer. Its closure is a very painful one for its workforce and their families," he said.
"That there is still no certainty on the future of the plant under Canterbury Spinners makes it more difficult for the workers and the community."
Paul Watson said that the union had collective employment agreements at several other Godfrey Hirst and Canterbury Spinners worksites, and had been in regular contact with the company.
"We are continuing discussions with the company on the nature of future work. Obviously we would want to see the establishment of long term employment security for those offered jobs and more will emerge on this point in the near future."
"The union is also committed to establishing on going support for all redundant workers by working with the Mayor of Waitaki District to establish a Redundancy Support Programme that offers additional support than that offered by government agencies. This approach has worked well in previous redundancies in the textiles sector, including Lane Walker Rudkin, Pacific Brands and Canterbury Spinners’ own Bromley plant.”
"The Mayor and FIRST Union have been in contact with the Ministry of Social Development to seek funding support for the Programme."
The National Distribution Union and Finsec joined forces in October 2011 to form New Zealand’s newest union – FIRST. The union represents 27,000 people working in Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood) Retail, Stores & Transport. http://firstunion.org.nz