New Zealand union organisation E tū is calling on the Government to lend greater support to Aotearoa New Zealand’s local wood processing industry in the wake of the proposal to close Whakatāne Mill. Source: Timberbiz
Last Tuesday, the mill’s management presented workers with a proposal to shut the mill by the end of June. The closure would affect around 220 employees, including temporary workers.
E tū spokesperson Raymond Wheeler says the union will be supporting more than 40 more members during the consultation process.
He says the proposed closure lends some urgency to the Government’s work on an Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) for the forestry and wood processing sector, if local manufacturing is to survive.
“We need to see increased support for manufacturing in the regions, particularly in the form of government procurement for local wood products,” he said.
“These industries are also a vital part of the community’s economic wellbeing, as many local businesses such as in engineering, scaffolding, and associated industries, rely on a large operation like the Whakatāne Mill for work.”
Mr Wheeler said an ITP would enable workers to have more control over their futures by having a say in creating and maintaining decent work, while ensuring that the local manufacturing industry remains viable.