Tissues run out at Te Rapa

Last updated 11:02 31/12/2013

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The last of the 140 Hamilton workers laid off by a multinational paper production company have pulled their final shift.

SCA Hygiene Australasia has closed the tissue manufacturing line at its Te Rapa plant, choosing to move the work to its site in Kawerau instead. The Te Rapa tissue and serviette product line stopped early on Sunday December 21.

The company announced plans to make cuts at the site in July last year. The tissue manufacturing operation has been winding down over the past four months, with the 140 employees made redundant gradually leaving the business over the period.

A subsidiary of Swedish business Svenska Cellulosa, the company made tissues, nappies and personal-care hygiene products at the Foreman Rd plant for well-known names such as Sorbent and Handee.

The site will continue to manufacture Treasures diapers, safeguarding the jobs of about 35 people.

The company's Australasian president Peter Diplaris said the decision came down to a challenging market environment and pressure from imports. The company has offered support for its former employees in helping to find alternative employment, he said.

The opportunity to move to SCA's Kawerau facility, where a $60 million upgrade is under way, was also extended to all affected employees - six accepted positions.

The Bay of Plenty-based plant currently employs more than 200 staff.

Diplaris said the Kawerau upgrade would ensure a New Zealand sustainable manufacturing future for the company.

"We want to ensure the majority of our products for our New Zealand customers continues to be manufactured in New Zealand," he said.

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- Waikato Times

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