Proposal could hit 30 city jobs

Brent Esler.
Brent Esler.
About 30 jobs in Dunedin could be affected as farm supplies co-operative Farmlands proceeds to the next stage of a proposal to centralise administrative support in Christchurch.

Last month, Dunedin staff were informed of a proposal to consolidate the company's administrative support operations in Christchurch, while centralising processing functions in Dunedin.

After considering feedback from staff over a two-week period, the rationale behind the proposal was largely unaffected, chief executive Brent Esler said in a statement yesterday.

Farmlands' management was entering the second stage of the consultation process with individual staff which they hoped to complete by the end of May.

The company was unable to comment further until that consultation was completed.

Mr Esler said when contacted it was proposed a number of supply roles in Hastings and Dunedin would be relocated to Christchurch, but that would not be decided until consultation was completed.

Numbers in Dunedin would ''reduce somewhat but not hugely''.

Initially, he said it was too early to put a figure on those numbers but then later said about 30% of about 100 roles were subject to consultation.

The proposal had never included the possibility of involving 100 jobs from Dunedin, he said.

Since calling for feedback, Farmlands staff had made good submissions, which had been ''taken on board'' and resulted in minor changes to the proposal.

Dunedin was the major processing centre for the South Island and the proposal would result in national processing consolidating in the city.

The effect on staffing was likely to be ''relatively neutral'', although there was likely to be ''some upside'' in terms of processing work and volume, he said.

If changes were approved, they would be implemented this calendar year, he said.

South Island-based Combined Rural Traders merged with North Island-based Farmlands Trading Society last March, resulting 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.

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