Redundancies at a major North Otago wool plant are reflective of the difficulty manufacturers are facing across the country, the textile workers’ union said today.
Following consultation with FIRST Union and the EPMU, Summit Wool Spinners has today confirmed 49.5 redundancies at its Oamaru plant.
“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 tonight.
“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.”
Industry could not stabilise and grow while the dollar is so high, and government action was needed to deal with the volatile New Zealand dollar, Paul Watson said.
“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.”
The National government’s refusal to target speculative cash washing in and out of New Zealand from overseas currency traders meant that more workers and regional communities would continue to pay the price for government inaction, Paul Watson said.