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A rough day for Kiwi workers

17 April 2008

A rough day for Kiwi workers

Plans to export about 500 ANZ National Bank jobs to India and lay off 50 staff from a Dunedin knitwear firm are a further blow to New Zealand workers, already stung by news of 430 layoffs from the Fisher and Paykel plant in Dunedin today.

"It's a tough day for Kiwi workers, with nearly 1000 jobs affected by corporate outsourcing to low wage economies," says Green Party Regional Economic Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

The ANZ National Bank plans to move about one percent of its processing and operational staff to Bangalore this year, and up to five percent by the end of 2009. It will redeploy all staff affected by the move and has assured staff that a staged shift over the next 18 months will help them find alternative roles at ANZ.

Dunedin is reeling from layoffs. Fisher and Paykel workers were shocked today by plans to close its dishwasher factory. This was followed by news of 50 layoffs from the Tamahine Knitwear closure.

Over the past 20 years Tamahine has battled to cope with a deregulated market which allowed a flood of low cost Asian imports. A high New Zealand dollar has compounded problems by making exports expensive and uncompetitive and lowering the costs of imports. Overseas visitor spending has also dropped significantly as a result of the high dollar. The company's directors will close its Dunedin factory on July 8, with 50 staff to lose their jobs.

Ms Bradford calls for the ANZ Bank to urgently reconsider its decision to send 500 call centre jobs to Bangalore, India.

"Last year ANZ National made $1 billion in New Zealand alone. Companies such as ANZ National have an obligation as good employers in New Zealand to employ their own workers on fair wages. If ANZ National cannot afford to employ its own workers on fair pay and conditions who can?"

And she sympathises with the plight of Dunedin workers, dealt a double whammy with layoffs from Fisher and Paykel and Tamahine Knitwear announced today.

"New Zealand workers are bearing the brunt of corporate moves to maximise profits by relocating their operations offshore to take advantage of cheaper labour."


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