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Rising oil prices an op. for more jobs, not less

Rising oil prices an opportunity for more jobs, not less

The iconic Hutt Valley firm on Southward Engineering should look at other options before laying off 170 of its staff, Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

The Australian Atlas Group, which owns Southward Engineering, announced job cuts at the firm this morning.

"Southwards is a major employer in the Hutt Valley and Auckland. These layoffs will be a devastating blow to the workers and their communities," Ms Bradford says.

Southwards blames high oil prices for a drop-off in demand for its products and therefore for the job losses.

"High oil prices are certainly a concern, and all companies should be preparing themselves for continuing rises. While some companies may see this as a threat, smart companies will see it as an opportunity.
Southward Engineering should look at alternative product lines.

"There will be a growing need for the manufacture of alternative forms of energy technologies for New Zealand. Southward should have the technology and the skills to take advantage of this demand," Ms Bradford says.

The Green Party, which has Government responsibility for both Buy Kiwi Made and Energy Efficiency, has a number of ideas that it is happy to share with Southwards.

"I will be writing to Mike Smith, NZ operations manager for Southward, and the union for workers at the company (the EPMU), to request a meeting with them to learn more about the impact of the oil price on the business.

"I hope the Green Party can help avert the planned job losses and keep the company viable," Ms Bradford says.

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