Yesterday’s sudden announcement of the closure of Pacific Pine Industries Ltd, a timber processing and sawmill in Putaruru, has left its 60+ employees reeling. Staff were called in from their annual leave on Monday to a meeting where they were informed that the company was entering voluntary administration. Locks were being changed at the site as the meeting was taking place, and not a day’s more work is available for the many long-serving employees at the sawmill, FIRST Union said today.
A FIRST Union Organiser attended the meeting where one worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Our whole community will suffer without these jobs. One colleague has just bought a house, and no one here is in a position where we can go without our income. We have kids and families to take care of."
FIRST Union is calling on the government to meet with industry stakeholders to intervene and coordinate the supply industry, from forest to construction, to ensure that sawmills are able to survive and provide the wood that is needed in our country.
"This is becoming a pattern," said Robert Reid, FIRST Union President. "It was just November last year that Claymark went into receivership. It highly counterintuitive that, at a time where we have lots of wood and the need for an unprecedented number of homes, our sawmills are closing down."
FIRST Union are working with the receiver and the Ministry of Social Development to ensure that the workers are supported at this difficult time.