Members “blind-sided” by Sanford job cuts proposal
20 June 2019
E tū says its members at Sanford’s Bluff fish-processing plant have been blind-sided by job cuts proposed by the company.
Up to 30 jobs – almost half Sanford’s Bluff workforce - could be lost if the proposal to move white-fish processing to Timaru goes ahead.
E tū organiser, Anna Huffstutler says members were completely in the dark about Sanford’s plans until they were suddenly called to a meeting on Tuesday.
“That was the first we’d heard of these plans,” says Anna.
“Our members were completely blind-sided. It had never been mentioned before. There was no discussion, not an inkling that this was happening,” she says.
“The members are shell-shocked, absolutely shell-shocked. They feel like they’ve been lied to. They are really angry. Some of them have worked there a long time.”
Anna says Sanford recently gained a resource consent to expand its salmon farms at Bluff, arguing this would bring jobs and benefits to the community.
“So, the community thought things were solid in Bluff because Sanford made a commitment that there would be more jobs if they got the consent. Now, what they’re saying is, that’s not going to happen for three years.
“People are furious, and they feel very misled.”
Anna says the move appears to be driven by profits.
“Sanford made a $66 million profit last year. So, I said to the CEO, Volker Kuntzsch, ‘How much is enough?’
“He told us shareholders want a $100 million profit and a 10 percent return on shares. So, it’s not like they’re doing this out of financial hardship,” says Anna.
“Bluff’s a small place. There are no other jobs, so they’d have to look outside Bluff. It’s a real blow.”