Hope yet for Hamilton's Huttons' workers

NARELLE HENSON
Last updated 16:30 20/01/2014
Huttons
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

End of an era?: The Huttons factory is likely to close in March if owner Goodman Fielder’s meat business is sold to South Island-based Hellers.

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There may yet be hope for 125 Goodman Fielder workers told two weeks ago their jobs were likely to be cut from the Huttons meat production and processing factory at Frankton.

Australasian food company Goodman Fielder, which owns the Huttons factory,  announced on January 8 it had agreed to a proposal to sell its meat business to Hellers, following a consultation process with staff.

At the time CEO Chris Delaney said that this would mean the total closure of the plant, except for its use as a distribution hub.

But Hamilton-based Labour List MP Sue Moroney says another bank-backed bid went to Goodman Fielder on Monday.

The news comes after a meeting of several of the city's leaders, called by Ms Moroney, to discuss the issue.

The group has agreed to seek a meeting with Goodman Fielder before Thursday, which will include representatives from Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Federated Farmers, along with Ms Moroney and National Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe.

Ms Moroney said each of the members of the group will be advocating for the jobs to stay in Hamilton.

''We want to get an undertaking that they will take stake holders and community interests into account," she said.

''We will ask them to look at it [the new bid] with seriousness and urgency.''

Ms Moroney said other attendees at the meeting, which excluded media, would seek advice from the Commerce Commission as to whether the sale was anti-competitive.

Ms Moroney said the outcome of the meeting was encouraging.

''In my time as an MP this is the first time I have seen people from around the spectrum unite around an issue.''

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- Waikato

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