8 March 2018
Closure of iconic Christchurch plant
E tū is extremely concerned to see another local manufacturer shutting up shop and heading overseas.
Schneider Electric confirmed today it is closing its Christchurch plant and shifting operations to Australia and Vietnam with the loss of about 50 jobs.
The plant, which produces light switches and power plugs, was formerly part of iconic Christchurch company PDL, with a decades-long history in the city.
“These are quality fittings and they’ve been very popular for many years. They’re in most New Zealand homes and would be instantly recognisable to most Kiwis,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Phil Knight.
Phil says a number of workers have been with the firm since its days as PDL, with one long serving staffer clocking up 42 years on the job.
“This is a workforce that’s very much a big family. They’re proud of their product and also very sad to bid farewell to their workmates and friends,” says Phil.
The announcement comes just weeks after ABCorp announced it was closing its Christchurch plastic card factory and also relocating abroad.
“We’ve seen a string of these closures, and every time it’s a blow for our members and the economy,” says Phil.
“The official line is there’s a buoyant job market out there, but manufacturing jobs like these have provided secure, well-paid, permanent, full-time jobs. These are now a relative rarity.
“However, these workers do have skills and good work records that would be of interest to any employer in any number of industries,” he says.
Phil says the union will be promoting their interests once a closure date is confirmed.
Schneider’s other New Zealand operations are not affected by the closure.