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KiwiSkills launch to find jobs for Feltex workers

Joint Press Release: National Distribution Union, Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union

Monday, November 20, 2006, 12.00pm, * Embargoed until 2pm today

KiwiSkills.co.nz launch to find jobs for redundant Feltex workers

The www.KiwiSkills.co.nz pilot project is being launched in Christchurch today to find new job opportunities for redundant Feltex workers, says the National Distribution Union.

The National Distribution Union, Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Sleepyhead will launch www.KIWIskills.co.nz to bring together a strong network to retain and build skills and talent in New Zealand manufacturing.

National Distribution Union National Secretary Laila Harré said that whilst the unions will continue to campaign for compensation for Feltex workers, the majority of Riccarton Feltex workers ended employment last week and require immediate assistance.

”Kiwiskills aims in a small way to keep Feltex workers in New Zealand, producing quality products, earning a decent income to support their families and communities, and helping New Zealand companies earn a decent income for New Zealand,” she said. “Most importantly Kiwiskills acknowledges the experience and skill of the Feltex workers and their value to New Zealand.”

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union National Secretary Andrew Little said that underlying Kiwiskills is a belief in New Zealand manufacturing and its place in developing safe, high wage, high skill and unionised jobs.

“As we launch Kiwiskills we are commiting to continue the unionisation of manufacturing that made Feltex jobs of the highest standard, jobs which Kiwiskills will lead us to," he said. “The Riccarton workers here today have wages, conditions and jobs to fight for because generations of workers at their worksite and in their industry have fought for them before.”

Around forty workers will remain at the Riccarton carpet plant for the next month to complete remaining orders.


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