November 1, 2006
Landmark Colgate factory to close
The factory that introduced softball to New Zealand is to close, with the loss of some 100 jobs.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that workers at the Colgate Palmolive plant in Petone were told this afternoon that the factory would close in the middle of next year – despite the fact that it is making money.
“It’s a huge blow to the workers,” Mr Little said.
“The plant has been there for more than 50 years, and has many long-serving and loyal employees.”
Mr Little said that he understood that the decision to close the New Zealand plant and to bring goods in from Australia and Malaysia was made in New York.
“They simply decided to pull the pin on the New Zealand manufacturing operation,” he said.
“The plant was making good profits and doing a good job, but that doesn’t seem to have influenced the international decision makers.
“This is the ugly face of globalisation – decent, hard-working people losing their jobs.”
Mr Little said that the Colgate factory was an iconic part of the Hutt Valley manufacturing scene.
“It was the Colgate workers who introduced softball to New Zealand, after they were taught to play by their American bosses,” he said.
The EPMU represents about half the 100-strong workforce. Mr Little said that his members were covered by a good redundancy agreement.
The workers were sent home after being given the news this afternoon, and will meet back at the site tomorrow morning.