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Pacific Brands confirms closure of NZ factories - NDU

Jul '09
Pacific Brands confirmed the closure of its Palmerston North “Liberty” factory. “The 50 workers received the news at a meeting called by the company,” says Robert Reid, President of the National Distribution Union (NDU).

“This announcement comes two weeks after 40 workers at the Christchurch factory of Pacific Brands received similar news.”

“For most workers in Palmerston North the announcement has come as a relief,” Robert Reid says.

“The workers have lived under the threat of closure and redundancy for almost four months since they were told of Pacific Brands' intention to exit manufacturing in New Zealand on 4 March this year.

“Now the announcement has been made the workers will be able to get on and organise the rest of their lives.

“The reason the company has given for the long period of uncertainty is that there were a number of prospective buyers for the “Liberty” business. However workers were told that no formal purchase offer had been received.

“Although workers will be made redundant in a couple of weeks, the union is hopeful that a buyer may still be found for the “Liberty” brand, even if the factory cannot be sold as a going concern. This in turn could see the rehire some of the workers if that buyer decided to continue to manufacture in the Manawatu. The union will talk to Vision Manawatu and local community leaders to see if such a purchase can be facilitated.

“Workers at Pacific Brands will receive a modest redundancy settlement. The union has also negotiated for Pacific Brands to fund the running of a redundancy resource centre at the factory for the next few weeks and also for retraining costs of up to $3,000 per person,” Robert Reid says.

National Distribution Union

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