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High dollar claims 84 jobs at Safe Air

June 14, 2013
Media Release

High dollar claims 84 jobs at Safe Air

The loss of 84 jobs at Safe Air in Blenheim is an indictment of the Government’s hands-off approach to the economy, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The Air New Zealand subsidiary has told staff the redundancies are a result of existing contracts coming to an end and the high New Zealand dollar making the business uncompetitive in attracting new international work.

EPMU assistant director of organising Strachan Crang says the job losses are a blow to the local community.

“This is a kick in the guts for Blenheim. Safe Air is the largest employer in town and the loss of so many highly-skilled, well-paid jobs will have a flow-on effect across the region.

“There are now going to be 84 more houses for sale in Blenheim and 84 fewer families spending in the local shops.

“Safe Air is a world-class facility that only a few years ago was doing work for international clients like Boeing and the Chilean Air Force, but it’s been laid low by the Government’s refusal to support Kiwi jobs.

“You can’t build an economy on lattes and convention centres. It’s time the Government woke up and supported good, well-paid manufacturing jobs and it can start by bringing down the exchange rate and buying Kiwi made.”

Mr Crang says the union will now enter consultation with the company. Workers at Safe Air are entitled to redundancy pay as part of their union-negotiated collective agreement.

The EPMU is supporting the Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing, which will release its recommendations in Christchurch on Monday.

ENDS

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