Workers at Kawerau’s pulp and paper mill are facing weeks of uncertainty as their employer, Norske Skog, have commenced with a consultation process about the future of the mill, including potential closure.
More than 150 workers, including 30 E tū members, are affected by the proposal, which was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
E tū Engineering, Infrastructure and Extractions Industry Council Convenor and site delegate Bruce Habgood says in the wake of the proposal, there is “lots and lots of uncertainty” for members.
“There’s simply lots of uncertainty – until we can get around the table and have some meaningful conversation with the company.
“At this stage there are no guarantees, and a lot of people are in limbo.”
Bruce says although many workers don’t live in the Kawerau township itself, any potential closure would inevitably have a further-reaching effect on other local businesses and suppliers.
“The future of work and manufacturing is the issue here – the situation shows how vital industry transformation is and to ensure a Just Transition for all affected workers.”
E tū organiser at the Kawerau Mill Raymond Wheeler says while the consultation has started, as it is still in the very early stages, the union cannot draw any conclusions on potential outcomes as details have not been fully disclosed.
“Our priority is supporting our members – we are there to support both them and the community during the consultation period.”
The consultation is expected to run for two weeks.
For more information and comment:
Raymond Wheeler, 027 597 5404