Job cuts inevitable says CEO

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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Cavalier Bremworth's chief executive Paul Alston was in Whanganui yesterday to talk with staff who may be out of a job if a proposal to restructure the company goes ahead.

On Wednesday the company confirmed 108 spinning jobs will be lost in Whanganui and 40 different jobs in felting will be created, making a total of 68 job losses in Whanganui.

The proposal would see the spinning operation move from its factory in Castlecliff to its plant in Napier. Meanwhile, the felting factory in Christchurch would be shut, with a loss of 36 jobs, and that operation would move to Whanganui.

Mr Alston said a consultation period was currently under way with staff, and a decision would be made by May 2. He said the company had considered moving its entire spinning operation to Whanganui instead of Napier, but considered Napier more suitable.

"Napier is a much bigger site and it's also located across the road from the wool scourer, so we'd avoid those transportation costs. Whanganui doesn't have the size to cope."

Mr Alston personally made the announcement in Christchurch that the plant there would close. "We considered it more appropriate for me to be there because that site is closing."

He spent yesterday in Whanganui and will travel to Napier to talk with staff tomorrow. "I came here so that any Whanganui staff can talk to me if they want to."

Mr Alston said it had not been easy to make the decision to cut so many jobs. "We realise we are affecting people in a town that is probably struggling. But ultimately we need to reduce costs, and it's unavoidable as far as we're concerned."

He said Cavalier was still committed to manufacturing woollen carpets in New Zealand, but needed to make its operation as efficient as possible.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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