David Parker outside the Summit Wool Spinners plant in
Oamaru. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
First Union and the EPMU are seeking legal advice as they
are ''concerned'' over redundancy payments for some Summit Wool
A joint statement from both unions said while workers would
be paid redundancy packages in accordance with existing
collective agreements, which would vary on length of service,
workers leaving before the provisional end of the plant
operations on February 28 would still by entitled to their
redundancy compensation. However, legal advice was being
taken ''over redundancy compensation for workers made
redundant in the past and then re-employed by the company''.
The statement added that workers staying until the last day
of work would receive a payment of $1000, or $500 if they
worked part time.
Summit's Japanese parent company, Sumitomo, announced last
week all workers would be made redundant after the sale of
the mill to Canterbury Spinners.
Labour Party finance spokesman and former Otago MP David
Parker yesterday met Summit management and workers' union
representatives, and said the 192 workers faced with
redundancy were still coming to terms with the situation.
''It is a very raw time for those workers.''
Mr Parker said it was ''outrageous'' Economic Development
Minister Steven Joyce yesterday called for more direct
foreign investment in New Zealand industry, when the Summit
redundancies were ''another example'' of foreign investors
forced to pull out of provincial towns because of a high
''Sumitomo has been a very, very loyal investor for a long
time, but they have given up because under New Zealand's
economic settings they can't prosper.''
According to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures, the
Waitaki district would experience zero population growth for
the next 20 years, and the number of people aged between 40
and 64 would decrease 27%, he said.
''The consequences for towns like Oamaru, with no population
growth, an ageing population and a decreasing workforce, are
pretty dismal,'' he said.
He feared the coming census would reveal
Oamaru's situation was even worse than thought, Mr Parker
However, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said the Waitaki Dam
renovation, ongoing irrigation work and the replacement of
the Kurow bridges all boded well for Oamaru's future in terms
''In the last week many potential employers have approached
Work and Income keen to take on the skilled workforce from
Summit. Most of the workers are in the 40-plus age bracket
with a great skill level, work ethic and therefore highly
desirable to potential employers.''
Oamaru already had a skills shortage because of the
rebuilding of Christchurch and the ''recent strong activity''
shown by potential employers wanting to hire Summit staff was
''very encouraging'', she said.