Buying local and supporting local businesses is more important than ever, E tū says, in the wake of up to 200 redundancies proposed by BlueScope Steel.
On Thursday, the Australian-owned company who has New Zealand’s NZ Steel in Glenbrook and Pacific Steel in Otahuhu, announced its proposal to make between 150 to 200 workers redundant.
BlueScope aims to cut up to around NZ$54 million in costs, after their A$5.8 million full-year operating loss. However, they have now ruled out the closure of either Kiwi plant.
E tū member Lance Gush says members have a good collective agreement with strong terms and conditions to deal with the consultation process.
“Now it’s about maintaining what we can, working through the process to consult with the company, and minimising the impact on workers to get an outcome that’s good for everyone.
“We understand role we play in the structure of the local community and groups. We understand the business also needs to make a profit. We all want to be part of a successful business – it’s about how we do that together for the future.”
E tū negotiation specialist Joe Gallagher says the consultation process will take around seven weeks, as the collective agreement means the company is required to go through an “extensive” process with members around redundancy.
“We’re arguing the company needs to maintain workers’ incomes, their hours of work, and by any means necessary, to minimise job losses.”
While it’s some comfort that complete closure is off the cards, there is a ‘supply chain effect’ when people lose their jobs, which will not only harm the economy but many New Zealand communities, Joe says.
“For every $100 it takes to make to steel, $80 goes back into our economy – that’s a huge amount, compared to the $5 return from imported steel.
“Any redundancies will have a supply chain effect which will impact many industries, including manufacturing and construction. We’ve got to support local as well – that means cafes, gyms, and other small businesses – this is what keeps our communities alive,” Joe says.
“We have to do whatever it takes to keep local businesses going – big and small – and support each other to get through this.”
information and comment:
Joe Gallagher, 027 591 0015