CHH staff lose jobs in Rotorua, Tokoroa

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 10:53 28/11/2012

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About 70 workers are facing the prospect of a jobless new year, as Carter Holt Harvey plans to cut positions from both the Rotorua and Tokoroa plants.

Staff were told yesterday that the company plans to lose 18 jobs at the Tokoroa plywood plant, and close its Rotorua profiles plant, where more than 50 staff and contractors will be let go.

EPMU timber industry organiser Ron Angel said production at the Tokoroa plant had been slowing because of a reduction in demand from export markets in Australia and a lack of new builds in New Zealand.

Mr Angel said many were aware that the cuts were on their way, but it did not soothe their worries.

"People knew or suspected this was likely to happen . . . Nobody is surprised, but it's always a blow when it does come through," he said. "This is the last thing people need in the lead-up to Christmas."

Mr Angel said staff would be paid until January 6, covering the holiday period, and after that date, those who are entitled will receive redundancy.

He said at this stage it was uncertain who would be laid off and they were seeking voluntary redundancies.

Mr Angel pointed out it may be difficult for those made redundant to find other jobs in the industry because of the impending January job cuts at the Norske Skog paper mill in Kawerau.

"These redundancies are yet another sign that New Zealand manufacturing is in crisis. We urgently need a strategy from the Government to stop the decline in our manufacturing sector and create jobs in places like Rotorua and Tokoroa," he said.

Tokoroa Community Foodbank Trust volunteer Ruth Ramea said these cuts may further contribute to an already tough year for the community. Mrs Ramea said she had been volunteering at the foodbank for 13 years, and she had not yet seen a Christmas that was looking quite as bleak as this one.

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- Waikato

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