A worker made redundant at Carter Holt Harvey's LVL plant south of Whangārei wonders if the company will survive long term under a restructured model by focusing solely on the domestic market.
Nick Godfrey worked as a debarker operator at the Marsden Pt plant for 18 years and was among more than 100 workers deemed surplus to requirement during a restructure that's blamed on the unprofitable export side of the business, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the production and sales.
Before the restructure, the plant employed about 325 staff and operated seven days a week but it's now operating between 7am and 5pm Tuesday to Friday only.
Godfrey, 71, said redundancy was not a bad option for him but he felt for most of his former colleagues who have been there only two to three years.
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"Quite a lot of them wanted to go but they've been kept while others who wanted to remain had been let go. Their approach has been to keep the best people, which I have no problem with, although sometimes some of the selection wasn't what you thought would be,'' Godfrey said.
"My gut feeling is the plant will fold because they don't have enough maintenance staff to keep it going. Then there's competition from the likes of Fletchers, which is the biggest building company in New Zealand.
"I hope they do survive for the sake of the staff but it doesn't feel that way to me because they haven't been able to push their products in the local market," he said.
CHH declined to comment on any aspect of the restructure, including Godfrey's comments.
E tū union Northland representative Annie Tothill said 66 members were made redundant at the last count. Some left early and asked not to come to work on the last day.
She said some were looking for work outside Northland and others were searching locally.
E tū has filed a personal grievance claim with the Employment Relations Authority, alleging CHH deducted annual leave from employees of about two weeks during the lockdown without authorisation.
The union is seeking the reinstatement of all annual leave, including alternate and lieu days, and long service leave and their cost to be met by the company.
For those who will lose their jobs, the union wants CHH to pay the same value of the leave debited as compensation under the Employment Relations Act.
Additional compensation is sought for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to feelings.