180 jobs on the line at Kinleith
Up to 180 jobs are on the line at the Kinleith Mill in Tokoroa, after owners Oji Fibre Solutions announced it was making changes to its maintenance structure.
Maintenance staff at the mill, contracted by Quant, have been told they’d be made redundant from April, 2017.
Staff include shift and day workers, wage and salary earners as well as fitters, electricians, technicians, foremans and planners.
Oji Fibre Solutions chief operating officer Terry Skiffington said they were bringing their maintenance operations in-house.
He said operations would continue to be outsourced, and they were now inviting contractors to bid for these contracts.
‘‘The new contracts which will take effect from April 2017, combined with our new maintenance management structure, will reflect a more efficient maintenance organisation.’’
South Waikato District Council Mayor Jenny Shattock said it was disappointing to hear, especially close to Christmas.
‘‘I was told Oji is now bringing it back in-house for them to be more competitive in today’s environment.’’
She was told there would be fewer people on a daily basis, meaning job losses.
‘‘But there would be those fit for the new organisation, and perhaps some that won’t fit.’’
‘‘Tokoroa has been through redundancies before, and we’re a resilient community.
‘‘There is the new Fonterra opening so perhaps jobs opening there, and we’re partners with a road rail terminal.’’
In 2014, the Kinleith Mill, as well as the Tasman Mill, Penrose Mill and the CHH Group packaging businesses in Australia and New Zealand, were bought by the Japanese paper manufacturer Oji Holdings and Japanese government-back investment fund Innovation Corporation of Japan.
It was sold by Carter Holt Harvey for $1.037 billion dollars.
In 2002, Carter Holt Harvey made redundancies with nearly half of the mill’s staff laid off. Out of 770 staff members, 355 were made redundant, and 173 were rehired by contractors for maintenance.
In 1992, Trade Union members striked against the government’s Employment Contracts Act which they saw as a threat to collective bargaining.
Tenant Mathew Tonga-awhikau feels let down by the system after being evicted from his home.
The Kinleith Mill near Tokoroa.