Union Lead Organiser, Alvin Livingstone says E tū has 150 members at the packaging plant, who have yet to learn who will stay and who will go, with workers experiencing a range of emotions.
“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,” he says.
Alvin says the company claims it remains committed to manufacturing in New Zealand, “but if these job losses go ahead, Huhtamaki will have laid off over 260 workers in the last eight years.
“The restructure is also disappointing given the company’s half yearly results show strong sales in the Europe-Asia-Oceania region. It’s profitable but obviously not enough to satisfy the company.”
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,” says Alvin.
He says the priority now is to explore redeployment options for affected members, as well as job opportunities with local employers for soon-to-be redundant workers.
“The redundancy process will be worked through rigorously to ensure fairness and the best outcome for affected members,” says Alvin.