There are reasons to hope for the futures of 79 workers made
redundant at Southern Cross Forest Products after a meeting
in Dunedin yesterday.
The ''stock take'' gathering had up to 100 workers from
Mosgiel, Milton and Balclutha meeting representatives from
about 20 employers, training providers and other
organisations in Dunedin.
The meeting was organised by Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan and
Work and Income. It was the third of its kind to be staged
following the announcement in April of the company's
restructuring and job cuts, including the closure of the
Rosebank Sawmill in Balclutha.
Mr Cadogan could not be contacted afterwards, but Dunedin
Mayor Dave Cull, who also attended, said it had offered the
workers reasons to hope.
''There was a whole lot of support that had been brought
together, so I'm hopeful that the guys that were there would
come out with some opportunities.''
Ministry of Social Development southern regional commissioner
John Allen, who also attended, said each organisation
explained the vacancies they were seeking to fill.
A round of ''speed dating'' then followed to try to match the
workers to the vacancies, training providers or other
opportunities, he said.
It was not yet known how many job offers would result, but
the two-hour meeting was still ''roaring'' along close to
2pm, nearly an hour after it was supposed to finish, he said.
''I think the day went incredibly well. It was very positive.
I was hugely impressed with the employers.
''Employers look for people with a work ethic. There would
have been at least 100 people in the room and they've all got
a work ethic. They're very employable and the place was just
Mr Allen said employers attending had jobs either available,
or expected to have soon, from Southland to Timaru, and he
urged workers to see what could be a ''turning point'' in
their lives as an opportunity.
The event was also attended by the Otago Chamber of Commerce
and Otago Southland Employers' Association, and he praised
the work of Mr Cadogan in organising the meetings.
''He's just so passionate about the whole thing and drives