April 17, 2008
Fisher & Paykel ditches NZ for cheap labour
Fisher & Paykel is closing its plant in Dunedin because it wants cheap labour, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The profitable company has announced it will be moving production of its dish-drawers and cookware to Mexico - a move that means more than four hundred jobs will be lost in Dunedin with jobs also lost from plants in Brisbane and California.
Contrary to statements this morning from Fisher & Paykel CEO John Bongard, the EPMU was not consulted about the decision. The union will start a consultation process now which is contained in the collective agreement.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says Fisher & Paykel has lost sight of its Kiwi origins and lost its heart and soul.
"Most exporting manufacturers in New Zealand are struggling with a high US-NZ dollar but you expect companies the size of Fisher & Paykel to work hard to keep jobs here.
"The Free Trade Agreement with China guarantees the current level of tariffs for the next four years, whereas manufactured goods imported from other countries face the possible removal of those tariffs over the next year or two.
"When Fisher & Paykel talk about compliance costs they really mean the cost of providing decent standards to their staff such as proper health and safety and fair wages, all of which are core Kiwi values but by making this move they are ensuring their products no longer represent these values.
"We have not been properly consulted on this decision. I was told about the impending decision of the board and when I asked what could be done to keep the work here I received no answer.
"The purpose of the consultation period now is to look at all the relevant information to see if we can challenge the decision, and otherwise make sure people are treated properly in the redundancy process."
"We will also be looking to the international trade union movement for information and advice about conditions in Mexico and measuring conditions there against conditions here."
The EPMU represents more than 370 workers at Fisher and Paykel's Dunedin plant.