Up to 80 people may be made redundant at Oamaru's Summit Wool Spinners after the company has had a substantial drop in local and overseas orders.

The company said today it was working through a consultative process with its 315 employees.

On Friday, the company briefed its staff on the company's situation, presented restructuring options and asked employees for feedback and ideas.

Company director Ricky Hammond-Tooke said today senior managers met members of the two unions and their representatives, and non-union staff, to continue the discussions.

"Further meetings are scheduled for the rest of the week and after considering the feedback, the company is now hoping to announce its restructuring decisions by late next week," he said.

"We're encouraging voluntary redundancies by offering more than is provided in employment contracts and this has met with a good response."

Mr Hammond-Tooke said although nothing could be confirmed at this stage, employees were aware that up to 80 redundancies could be involved depending on the shift and shift hours configuration, along with reductions in wages in some cases.

The Government's nine-day fortnight scheme was one of the proposals in the mix, he said.

While the main proposals centred around changes to shifts and shift hours, ideas were also being sought on possible cost-savings.

"We all recognise this is a very upsetting and uncertain time for employees and their families and we're working as quickly as employment law and its processes permit to reach a resolution and some certainty," said Mr Hammond-Tooke.

Both unions were being constructive as they worked through the proposals with their members.

In the meantime, the company agreed, at the unions' request, to set up a resource centre at the Oamaru plant to coordinate a range of company and government support services, including counselling being offered to all employees.

"The company is determined to retain enough people with the skills that are needed to take advantage of an upturn in orders," said Mr Hammond-Tooke.

"Making any job redundant really goes against the grain."

In November shifts at the plant were reduced from 12 hours to 10 hours in response to downturn in orders.

Summit Wool Spinners has been owned since 1992 by the textile division of Sumitomo Corporation of Japan.

The company is New Zealand's largest independent wool spinner, supplying yarn to carpet and rug-makers in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and the United States.

- NZPA