Jobs go at firm

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 08/06/2012

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The loss of 50 jobs at Summit Wool Spinners is a one-off for Oamaru "at this stage", Waitaki District mayor Alex Familton says.

Mr Familton said he did not believe other firms were following the carpet-yarn supplier, which announced 49.5 jobs will go at its North Otago site. However, the world's economy was unpredictable, which made it difficult for any business to look too far ahead, he said. "The global economy at the moment is very unpredictable and, even though we have low unemployment [rates in Oamaru], I don't think any of us are in the position to see too far into the future."

Summit Wool Spinners supplies carpet and rug yarn for both domestic and international markets.

First Union and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said that after consultations, the firm this week had confirmed 49.5 jobs would go.

"While it is good news that we are not dealing with a full plant closure, Summit is one of North Otago's biggest employers and these job losses will be felt throughout the region," First Union textiles secretary Paul Watson said.

"The redundancies at Summit are indicative of the problems facing the manufacturing sector. We are constantly hearing from export firms who are struggling to compete and find markets in the current global economic downturn. Our high currency is punishing exporters.

"Our union is dealing with redundancies in both the textiles and wood industries, yet there is no support from government to address the fundamentals of our monetary policy settings," Watson said.

Mr Familton said some of the district's industries were still strong, including agriculture, goldmining and the meatworks. "I believe that employment is very positive in our district.

"Unemployment is low, and we have other major companies like Meridian, Alliance and Macraes that are all still very active and buoyant, and I would have to add with that, the agriculture sector." This meant the district had a sound foundation for the long-term economic situation, he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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