E tū is extremely disappointed with the confirmation today that Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) intends axing the jobs of about 90 workers at its East Coast mill in Gisborne.
E tū represents production workers at the mill.
E tū Engineering Industry Coordinator, Ron Angel says workers were expecting the worst when the proposal was first mooted late last month, “but it’s still a bitter blow,” he says.
“This is one of Gisborne’s biggest employers and the only significant wood manufacturer in the area. Many families have relied on the mill for their livelihood, and these job losses will mean hardship for some.”
Ron says E tū and FIRST Union, which also has members on site, are doing all they can for JNL’s workers who face an uncertain future.
“We are still waiting to hear who does and doesn’t have a job. Some have chosen voluntary redundancy, but others face a two-week wait to see how goes and who stays,” he says.
Ron says both unions have been working with JNL to manage the issues arising from the restructure and the subsequent job losses.
“That work will continue as our members await certainty over their position,” he says.
Ron says there is redundancy pay, thanks to a union-negotiated redundancy agreement and both unions were working to ensure redundant workers received help with retraining, job search and the preparation of CVs.
He says there is some hope with the recent sale of the former Prime sawmill site, also in Gisborne, to Far East Sawmills, which hopes to offer jobs to about 60 people.
“That would obviously be welcome,” says Ron.