Hundreds of worried employees at a major wood processing plant in Northland will learn their fate next week when the results of a redundancy plan is announced.
Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) is expected to cull 164 jobs— more than two thirds of its workforce— at its laminated veneer lumber (LVL) plant at Marsden Pt as part of a plan to abandon export sales and focus on domestic supply only.
Last month, the company proposed to cut 68 per cent of its production roles from 241 down to 77 and blamed the restructure on the unprofitable export side of the LVL business, which accounted for about 70 per cent of the production and sales volume.
Some of the workers have been with the company since its inception about 19 years ago.
E tū union represents 150 workers at the LVL plant and Northland representative Annie Tothill said most of the workers would know the outcome of the restructure next week.
She said the union was awaiting information from CHH around workers' access to their superannuation post redundancy and the availability of advisers to guide them through financial matters.
In a strange twist, she said the company was relocating its distribution centre from Wiri in Auckland to the LVL plant in Ruakākā which meant about 25 jobs would be up for grabs.
Of that number, 21 are non-salaried staff and LVL workers are being asked apply for the roles when their future in the present employment was uncertain.
She said E tū was checking with timber manufacturers around Northland job opportunities for redundant LVL workers.
The LVL plant presently runs 24 hours, seven days a week using renewable plantation pine to make LVL which is an engineered wood product typically used as structural members for lintels, beams, mid-floors and roofs across residential and commercial building projects.
Tothill said CHH's decision to make positions redundant was brutal and devastating, not just for the affected workers, but for the region that was already economically depressed.
CHH yesterday declined to comment on any aspect of the restructure.