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‘Brutal’ Proposed Job Cuts At Carter Holt Harvey

Workers are devastated at a restructure proposal which could see more than two-thirds of their team made redundant at Carter Holt Harvey’s remaining Northland timber plant.

In May, the company proposed to cut 68% of its production roles from 241 down to just 77 at their Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) plant at Marsden Point, as part of a plan to abandon export sales and focus on domestic supply only.

Despite LVL receiving around $2.2 million in wage subsidies in the first week of April, workers were forced to use, on average, two weeks of their annual leave during the Level 4 lockdown.

Some workers, who had little or no leave, now face a zero or negative leave balance and redundancy. The company also confirmed it has not ruled out complete closure of the plant.

E tū Industry Councillor Glen Chaplin visited Carter Holt Harvey workers last week and says they are completely demoralised by the proposed redundancy.

“Workers are really devastated and deflated. They don’t know what to do next and don’t necessarily see a path forward for getting other work,” Glen says.

“It’s decision which would potentially leave two-thirds of their workforce out of jobs in an area that’s already economically depressed.”

E tū organiser Annie Tothill says the timing of the proposed cuts is “brutal”.

“The harvesting of workers’ leave means some workers will have nothing left of their leave balance to help support a period of redundancy.

“It is in everyone’s best interest that the wage subsidy is used as intended - for the workers - and we urge Carter Holt Harvey to use the 12-week subsidy to cover the cost of reinstating all that leave to all their workers now.”

Annie says with a number of employers in manufacturing and infrastructure issuing restructure notices with potential redundancies, the Government needs to step in quickly for communities to have justice and to prevent a self-fulfilling cycle of job loss and economic downturn.

It also needs to create an accountable pathway for the timber manufacturing industry to thrive again, including exports, Annie says.

“To rebuild better, we need to keep and increase the number of decent jobs in New Zealand. The jobs at Carter Holt Harvey are good, sustainable manufacturing jobs that provide for hundreds of workers and their families, indeed the whole community.”

The company will announce their decision on 8 June.

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