McCain Foods to cut 22 jobs

About 20 food manufacturing workers at the McCain Foods, Hastings plant are expected to lose their jobs.

Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU) organiser Thomas O'Neill said the plant announced to workers yesterday a proposal to reduce year-round production of TV dinners to just 10 days per year.

22 jobs would be lost, Mr O'Neill said.

McCain's intended to stop exporting to Australia and manufacture the products solely for the domestic market.

Workers received letters citing the high dollar as the reason for the job losses.

"Staff are absolutely gutted.

"With unemployment in Hawkes Bay at over 9 per cent, there is just nothing out there. The high dollar is kicking the guts out of food manufacturing and export."

A McCain Foods spokesman said the company would try to find positions for affected staff within the vegetable plant.

The spokesman would not confirm an exact figure but said "around 20" jobs would be lost.

"Obviously there are opportunities to find jobs for a lot of those 20 [workers]." Mr O'Neill said while there may be limited opportunities for staff to shift to packhouse work or part-time harvesting, "of course not everyone will be accommodated".

Yesterday's announcement came after about 100 jobs were lost at Christchurch's Independent Fisheries in December and the announcement that more than 125 jobs will be lost at Cerebos Gregg's Auckland factory.

Mr O'Neill was urging the Government to address the high New Zealand dollar and its adverse effects.

"Government is doing nothing to prevent this steady loss of jobs in food manufacturing.

"SFWU is calling on the Government to provide assistance for food manufacturing," he said.


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