Schneider Electric says it is shutting manufacturing in Christchurch and moving operations to facilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The change would impact all 50 manufacturing-based roles in Christchurch and staff were informed today, following a month-long consultation period.

Manufacturing operations in Christchurch would be ramped down over a staged six to nine-month period, the company said.

Schneider Electric spokesperson Ray Dunn said the company last month announced to its more than 280 staff in New Zealand that it had commenced a study to review moving Christchurch manufacturing operations to existing facilities in Adelaide and Vietnam.

"It is part of our normal business practice to regularly review our business models and ensure we continue to meet our customer needs and remain competitive," Dunn said.

"We gave careful consideration and thorough investigation to all the feedback we received during the consultation," he said.


"Following consultation it was decided that our manufacturing operations in Christchurch did not meet our business requirements."

Schneider said it would work with staff to identify other areas of the organisation where they might be interested in working.

The company was committed to providing a comprehensive support package for its staff and was working with supporting union, E tu, who were an integral part of the consultation and would continue to be part of the staged shutdown.

E tu said it was concerned to see another local manufacturer moving operations overseas.

The plant, which produced light switches and power plugs, was formerly part of Christchurch company PDL, with a decades-long history in the city, E tu said.

"These are quality fittings and they've been very popular for many years. They're in most New Zealand homes and would be instantly recognisable to most Kiwis," said E tu industry coordinator Phil Knight.

Knight said a number of workers had been with the firm since its days as PDL, with one long serving staffer clocking up 42 years on the job.

"This is a workforce that's very much a big family. They're proud of their product and also very sad to bid farewell to their workmates and friends."

E tu said the announcement came just weeks after ABCorp said it was closing its Christchurch plastic card factory and also relocating abroad.


"We've seen a string of these closures, and every time it's a blow for our members and the economy," Knight said.

"The official line is there's a buoyant job market out there, but manufacturing jobs like these have provided secure, well-paid, permanent, full-time jobs. These are now a relative rarity," he said.

"However, these workers do have skills and good work records that would be of interest to any employer in any number of industries."

E tu said Schneider's other New Zealand operations were not affected by the closure.