Jobs scarce for laid off workers
Work opportunities are looking thin on the ground for redundant Shannon fellmongery staff.
The Lowe Corporation is expanding operations in Hawke's Bay but the company says it will look after its own staff at Hastings first.
Managing director Andy Lowe said about 90 staff worked at the Tomoana plant processing skins.
"We'll look after our own first in Hastings and there have been seasonal lay-offs," said Mr Lowe.
Silver Fern Farms had owned the Shannon plant and sold it to the Lowe Corporation.
The corporation closed it, with the loss of 86 jobs from the region.
Silver Fern Farms will send skins from its sheep plants at Takapau, Wairoa and Waitotara to Lowe Corporation's pelt treatment plant at Hastings, where they will be processed.
Mr Lowe said his company was expecting two million extra pelts this season from Silver Fern Farms' plants.
He said staff processing pelts at the Hastings plant had had their hours cut, but a rebound was expected, so the company would need a few staff from Shannon.
He said that as sheep numbers decreased, and the drought took its toll with fewer lambs this year, the rationalisation of the plants had to happen. "Our real competition is China. If we hadn't done anything, China would do all the processing. This is about saving jobs in New Zealand."
Meatworkers Union representative Roger Middlemass said workers from Shannon would lose their seniority but many needed an income.
Ovation at Feilding, which kills sheep and deer, and Affco's Manawatu beef plant were looking for staff as the season got cracking, but it could be a night shift.
The closest plant to many in Manawatu and Horowhenua is Alliance Group's Levin sheep and lamb plant.
The plant manager, Phillip Hansen, said that the plant was in its off-season for lamb processing and did not expect to be advertising for more staff until later next month.
"Staff from the Shannon fellmongery are welcome to apply for positions at our Levin plant as we advertise vacancies during the season."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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