180 jobs on the line at Kin­leith

South Waikato News - - Front Page - TE AHUA MAIT­LAND

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.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Ten­ant Mathew Tonga-awhikau feels let down by the sys­tem af­ter be­ing evicted from his home.

The Kin­leith Mill near Toko­roa.

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