Norske Skog axes 110 mill jobs

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 08:54 09/01/2013

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Norske Skog has confirmed that around 110 staff at its mill in Kawerau will be made redundant, following the closure of one of its paper machines at the plant today.

The redundancies will become effective over the next three to four months.

They were signalled in September when Norske Skog said it would halve production at the mill partly due to falling demand for newsprint.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union delegate Bruce Habgood said the machine would be closed down by 6am this morning.

''It's been an unpleasant situation for everyone... but it's been dealt with as professionally as possible.''

He knew of several affected staff who had found new jobs. ''But unfortunately, given how depressed the eastern Bay of Plenty is, let alone the Bay of Plenty as a whole, there's going to be a quite a few people who have no jobs to go to.''

A Norske Skog spokesman said a significant number of staff affected by the machine closure had been redeployed at the mill.

The company had offered those being made redundant assistance in gaining new employment, including help with preparing CVs and interview training.  

The mill will continue to operate one paper machine, and produce newsprint for the New Zealand, Australian and Pacific Island markets.  

Norske Skog said in September the decision to close the machine was driven by falling demand and unfavourable exchange rates that made large-scale exports to Asia unprofitable.

Peter McCarty, general manager at the Norske Skog Tasman mill, thanked all involved for their input and understanding.

He said the constructive approach shown by all parties had contributed to a successful final outcome and had helped set the mill up for a positive future.

''The challenge for our mill and our remaining machine is to be a low cost producer of quality newsprint and we are well positioned to meet this challenge. We will also be looking to successfully leverage off this base to seize new opportunities that will invariably come along in the future.

''As a team, we are committed to continuing the mill's proud contribution both locally and nationally and to helping to lead the company's diversification into renewable energy and biofuels.

"While there is still much work to do to meet our strategic goals, we are making good progress and receiving strong encouragement and support from all quarters. We look forward to making further announcements in due course.''

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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