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Urgent Govt Action Needed on Wood Industry Jobs

Urgent Government Action Needed to Save Wood Industry Jobs

November 18, 2008-11-18

Media Release from the National Distribution Union

The new Government must urgently address job losses in the wood industry says the National Distribution Union.

“Just a few hours before the new cabinet was announced over 80 workers at the Fletcher Building owned Plyco Select plant in Penrose were told the company was closing their plant and ceasing production in December,” says NDU President Robert Reid.

“This follows hard on the heels of last week’s announcement that 30 workers will lose their jobs when Fletcher Building drops two shifts at its NZ Laminex plant in John Key’s Helensville electorate.

“This brings the number of workers laid off by Fletcher Building this year to over 700. On top of this Carter Holt Harvey will be making over 300 workers redundant when it closes mills at Putaruru and Maunganui in December.”

Mr Reid says there have also been smaller groups of layoffs announced at another half a dozen mills around the country and other wood and pulp and paper mills are reducing hours of work, working short weeks or undertaking temporary closures.

“This is hurting workers, their families and their communities,”

Mr Reid says the wood industry is suffering from the local and international downturn in the house construction industry and an oversupply of pulp and paper.

“To make matters worse we heard yesterday from the West Coast Timber Association talking about supply problems resulting from lack of support from the previous government and the Forest Owners Association expressing concern that the uncertain future of the Emissions Trading Scheme is jeopardizing millions of dollars of potential investment in the forest industry.

“The government was elected on a platform of taking proactive action around business closures and redundancies. There is no better place for it to start than the wood industry.”

Mr Reid says he is heartened by comments made by Hon Tariana Turia during the election campaign when she called for a government/community buy-out of the Putaruru mill to save jobs.

“We look forward to working with Mrs Turia and Paula Bennett to come up with innovative solutions to the wood industry employment crisis,” he says.


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