About 100 Farmlands staff in Dunedin face an anxious wait
after the company yesterday proposed consolidating its
administrative and support operations in Christchurch.
Many roles are likely to be shifted from Dunedin, and those
affected face the prospect of moving to Christchurch or
seeking other employment.
Dunedin staff were informed of the proposal yesterday and
have two weeks to submit feedback.
A final decision will be revealed on March 17.
Farmlands chief executive Brent Esler said the co-operative
had about 150 staff in Dunedin, two-thirds of whom worked in
administrative and support roles.
It was those jobs that were addressed in the proposal, which
followed Farmlands' decision last July to base its new
executive in Christchurch, as part of streamlining the merged
business into a single entity.
Farmlands has three corporate centres - in Christchurch,
Dunedin and Hastings.
The Otago Daily Times understands Dunedin could lose some of
its support divisions to Christchurch, and that all support
work will be moved from Hastings.
Implementation of the proposal, if adopted, would start in a
few months and be completed by the end of the year.
Mr Esler yesterday would not discuss the proposal in detail
while it was subject to staff consultation, but told the ODT
there was nothing in it which indicated all of the about 100
Dunedin roles would be abandoned or shifted to Christchurch.
''Some [of the Dunedin staff] could be impacted by this
proposal, which is in general about consolidating some of our
operations,'' he said.
A statement released by Farmlands said the change would help
save the company about $16 million over three years.
The benefits were highlighted at Farmlands' inception last
March, when South Island-based Combined Rural Traders (CRT)
merged with North Island-based Farmlands Trading Society.
It resulted in a nationwide farm supplies co-operative with
54,000 members, more than 1000 staff, 47 stores in the North
Island and 31 in the South Island.
The merger was expected to deliver net benefits of $38
million in the first three years, of which 42% (about $16
million) would come from business system changes.
Since being established, the new Farmlands executive had
considered how to optimise the efficiency of its back office
and support functions, which led to the proposal put before
That included ''removal of duplication'' in business systems
and resources, the company said.
Last year's merger was approved by CRT shareholders, after
the board recommended they support it.
In November, Farmlands released its first annual report since
the merger, recording turnover of $2.17 billion in the year
- Additional reporting Sally Rae.