Goodman Fielder Confirms Hamilton Closure and 125 Job
losses: Alternative Bid Rejected
Goodman Fielder this morning confirmed the closure of its Hamilton Huttons / Kiwi Bacon factory with the loss of some 125 jobs according to FIRST Union which represents 96 of the workers.
“Workers were called to a company meeting at 7.00 am this morning and given the news from Goodman Fielder NZ Managing Director, Peter Reidie,” said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid, from Hamilton.
“There was a combination of disappointment and relief amongst workers,” Robert Reid said.
“On Wednesday 8 January workers were told of the sale of Goodman Fielder’s NZ Meat Division to Hellers. The workers were told that the sale was for the brands only and the Hamilton production site would close by the end of March 2014.
“However the sale and purchase agreement was conditional on consultation with staff. The staff and their union took this consultation very seriously,” Robert Reid said.
“The staff consultation asked Goodman Fielder to review its decision in four areas; renegotiating with Hellers to keep the plant open, re-opening bids to re-look at those bids that would keep the plant open, considering a new bid through the union that would keep the plant open or Goodman Fielder reviewing its decision to divest itself of its Meat Division.
FIRST Union and the workers also gained community support to keep the site open and save the 125 jobs through local Labour, National and NZ First MPs, some Hamilton City Councillors, Federated Farmers and the Waikato Regional Council. In particular the union notes the support from Labour MP Sue Moroney, who coordinated this community support.
“Goodman Fielder rejected three of these four proposals from staff but did allow time for an alternative bid to be worked up as part of the worker consultation. This bid would have kept the plant in operation and saved 125 jobs.
“Workers were told by the company this morning that it would not accept the alternative bid, the sale to Hellers would proceed, the site would close and the 125 jobs would be lost.
“While workers were disappointed to hear the news that the site would close and they would be make redundant, there was also relief that after a month of waiting the final decision had been made.
“FIRST Union will now work closely with the company, Work and Income, IRD and other Government and non-government agencies to ensure that workers are given total support over the closure / redundancy period and the union will immediately introduce its redundancy support programme onto the site,” Robert Reid said.