Only one Hawke's Bay job is known to union officials to be on the chopping block as part of Heinz Wattie's job cuts announced on Tuesday.

The news has emerged for workers at Heinz Wattie's Hastings operation, with union officials suggesting the company's 100 job cuts throughout New Zealand will focus on white collar workers in Auckland.

Heinz Wattie's announced it was implementing a new structure for its Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand businesses to make the company more flexible and efficient.

A total of 245 employees across Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand would be affected by the changes. Heinz Wattie's said 100 jobs would be lost throughout New Zealand. The Service and Food Workers Union's spokesman for the food sector, Chas Muir, said yesterday he'd spoken to Heinz Wattie's management about the cuts. He said there were only two workers affected by the 100 job losses who were covered by the union's collective employment agreement - one in Hastings and one in Christchurch.


The workers were both "front line" engineers and they had been notified.

The other employees set to lose their jobs were likely to be based in Auckland, where Heinz Wattie's has sales and marketing operations.

"We strongly suppose that they are white collar workers in Auckland ... it is good news for the Hastings plant."

Mr Muir said workers were shocked by the company's announcement. No information was given out by the company to its workers or their representatives from the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union or Service and Food Workers Union.

"Workers were given no information about these plans before they hit the media. It's incredibly disrespectful behaviour from their employer.

"These redundancies aren't being driven by any desire to improve business, develop better products or create stable, high-skilled jobs. It's all about short-term profit for Heinz Watties' owners."

Tukituki MP Craig Foss yesterday called on Heinz Wattie's to provide more details about the cuts. "We need more information from the company itself, to deal with the uncertainty and angst that a lot of us are sharing at the moment.

"It would be good to have clearer information as soon as possible, so everyone can get on with the great work they're doing across the Bay."


Heinz Wattie's has three plants in New Zealand with two sites in Hastings and a site in Christchurch. A former Heinz Wattie's employee at the Hastings plant, who did not want to be named and was recently made redundant, contacted Hawke's Bay Today yesterday, saying this was the third round of redundancies the plant had seen in the past year.

A Heinz Wattie's spokesman said in response last night the company did not wish to make any further statement.