One hundred and twenty eight jobs are set to be axed at the Henderson factory of packaging and labelling company Huhtamaki.

E tū, the union which has 150 members at the plant, says the news is a devastating blow for workers there.

"This is a big hit for workers, their families and the west Auckland community. Add the fact that Christmas is looming, and this is very hard news for them," Alvin Livingstone, Union Lead Organiser, said.

Workers are yet to learn who will stay and who will go.


Livingstone said if Huhtamaki goes ahead with the job cuts, the company will have laid off over 260 workers in the last eight years.

Huhtamaki will now manufacture paper and plastic hot and cold cups, plastic takeaway containers, and wine dividers at its Asian factories.

"It's just another example of a big multinational deciding to move production somewhere else, at a huge cost to local workers," Livingstone said.

Livingstone said the priority now was to explore redeployment options for affected members, as well as job opportunities elsewhere for those made redundant.

"The redundancy process will be worked through rigorously to ensure fairness and the best outcome for affected members," Livingstone said.

Bryan Mould, Huhtamaki Henderson general manager, said the company was committed to manufacturing in New Zealand and was making clear strategic changes to secure long-term success in this market.

"We need to look at off-shore options to remain competitive in the market. Our plan is to continue to supply the same high-quality products, with the advantage of increasing our environmentally sustainable portfolio of products, most from within the Huhtamaki family," Mould said.

"There has been a shift in the market's requirements and to meet these needs Huhtamaki needs to reset to offer sustainable changes for our customers and for us."