February 9, 2005
Manufacturing summit now urgent - union
The imminent departure of Wellington’s Interlock manufacturing plant for China is a wake-up call for New Zealand to take a serious look at the future of manufacturing in this country, says the country’s largest union.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little today repeated his union’s call for an urgent summit on manufacturing, saying that time is running out for New Zealand to decide just how it is going to compete in the global manufacturing economy.
“We’ve had good support from industry on our call for a summit, but we need the Government to come on board,” he said.
“We had enough of governments adopting a hands-off approach in the 1990s. The result was the closure of hundreds of New Zealand manufacturing plants and the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs.
“High-quality manufacturing creating well-paid, skilled jobs is vital to our economy. We must work together to plan and build that future.”
Mr Little is to meet key manufacturers in Auckland next week to discuss the issue.
Yesterday, Assa Abbloy, which owns Interlock, announced that it would close the Miramar factory at the end of the year, instead of progressively until 2008 as originally planned.
The plant employs some 270 people, most of whom are members of the EPMU. The first wave of redundancies is expected next month. The union has a redundancy agreement with the company.