Fonterra confirms 104 jobs lost at Canpac

Fonterra has met staff and confirmed 104 jobs will be axed at its Te Rapa Canpac site.

Managing director of global operations Robert Spurway said, after a meeting at the site this morning, the number of jobs lost at the Hamilton specialty packaging plant would be reduced by 10.

"Canpac employees and the unions have provided valuable feedback on the proposal which has resulted in some changes to the initial proposal."

In July, the dairy co-operative told Canpac staff it was cutting back the operation to a 24-hour day, five days a week after a drop in sales volume on products packaged there. It had been a 24 hours, seven days a week operation since expanding in 2007 on the back of the commodities boom.  

Spurway said the company's priority was to find employment elsewhere in Fonterra for the workers.

Fonterra has offered 14 temporary contracts to staff at other Waikato sites.

"We currently have around 45 permanent and temporary roles available at our other sites which we hope to fill with our people from Canpac. We have also set up a range of support services including CV writing and interview skills workshops and budgeting advice."

Dairy Workers Union national secretary Chris Flatt said: "We've been working very closely with Fonterra over the last couple of weeks."

He said specific workers had not yet been informed if their positions would stay or go.

"We won't know until we see the final numbers, but we can confirm that Fonterra and ourselves are doing everything we can to find out where there are positions on other sites."

He said the first step in the process was asking if anyone will volunteer for redundancy, and "quite a chunk of people" had already put their hands up.

Fonterra and the union will then try to fit workers into the new structure at Canpac or other Fonterra sites around the Waikato.

"We are at the beginning of a new season, so the timing is as good as it can be."

The final step, said Flatt, was "going down the redundancy path" with any workers who were unable to find alternative work for Fonterra.

He said he did not know if the remaining 226 jobs were secure in the long term, but Fonterra had revealed there was a strategy to use the site for high-value product creation.

"We are pleased to hear that there is a commitment from Fonterra for Canpac."

Waikato Times