Press release: National Distribution Union
Friday, 25 January 2008, 8.45am
Decision day for small town fighting to keep jobs
Thirty-three workers in Westport are bracing themselves for a final decision today which will determine the fate of the Postie Plus Group distribution warehouse where they work, says the National Distribution Union.
But it’s not just workers who are nervously awaiting the listed clothing retailers decision, says National Distribution Union southern regional secretary Paul Watson, it’s the whole community.
“Westport is sensitive to job losses and there’s huge concern that every job lost is another nail in the coffin to the local economy,” he says. “In a very short period of time, a third of the small 5,000-strong community signed a petition urging the company to keep the warehouse in town which is a indication of the massive support the town has for the workers and the concern they have for their local economy.”
The union presented recommendations to senior management earlier this month on behalf of union members at the site with the support of the West Coast Development Trust and Mayor Pat McManus on behalf of the Buller District Council.
Mr Watson says the West Coast Development Trust has offered to build a completely new warehouse distribution centre for the company if it makes an 8-10 year commitment to stay in the town.
Thirty-three staff took voluntary redundancy and four workers transferred to Christchurch when the company moved some of the distribution divisions from Westport to Christchurch last year.
Union members say they chose to stay because they loved their jobs but a year of waiting for a final decision and not knowing their wether they would still have a job had made it a difficult to plan mortgage payments and other financial commitments.