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220 workers affected by Christchurch yarn plant closure
Mar '11
220 textile workers are to lose their jobs, as Godfrey Hirst subsidiary Canterbury Spinners announces the closure of its plant in Bromley, Christchurch, following last month's earthquake.

The National Distribution Union, which represents many of the workers, said that although there were satisfactory union negotiated redundancy provisions, the announcement came as a heavy blow for workers already reeling from the effects of the earthquake.

National Distribution Union (NDU) Southern Region Secretary Paul Watson said: “Not only has the plant been destroyed within a few seconds by a devastating earthquake but the future incomes and job security of 220 people have also been devastated.”

He said that union representatives had seen inside the plant and it seemed irreparable.

“The NDU has negotiated a satisfactory redundancy and relocation agreement which has been endorsed by union members. It is superior to the redundancy agreement that would have applied in normal circumstances.”

Paul Watson said the NDU would be also be immediately establishing a redundant workers support network, along similar lines to the very successful model put in place for Christchurch workers made redundant by Lane Walker Rudkin and Pacific Brands in 2009.

Paul Watson said no words could adequately describe the pain that will impact on families of those affected.

“Many of these workers live on the devastated East side of the city where the factory is based. The future of many of their homes is uncertain and now they have to face worrying times in terms of finding alternative work that can meet their current living costs.”

“The government needs to provide more support to assist these workers. Canterbury Spinners workers appear not to qualify for any earthquake job loss cover and that is unfair.”

Paul Watson said the union was hopeful the company would reinvest in Canterbury by starting up again in the future, although that prospect seemed 12 to 18 months away at the earliest.

National Distribution Union (NDU)

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