Wool spinner tight-lipped over talks with union

One of North Otago's largest employers, Summit Wool Spinners Ltd, is talking with unions this week as the company continues to operate with reduced shifts.

Asked yesterday if an announcement could be made this week concerning the future of the company, director Ricky Hammond-Tooke said he could not comment on that.

He confirmed the company was talking to unions this week, saying: "that's all we can really comment [on] at this stage".

The company, which employs about 340 workers, reduced its shifts from 12 hours to 10 hours in November last year, because of a "dramatic" drop in orders.

Speaking at that time, Mr Hammond-Tooke said the decrease started before the worldwide financial crisis, although that had made the future more uncertain.

While orders had suddenly dried up, it was seen as a short-term situation and would be reassessed if there was an increase in orders.

Summit Wool Spinners, which is owned by the Sumitomo Corporation, is New Zealand's largest independent spinner, supplying carpet and rug yarn for both domestic and international markets.

When contacted yesterday, Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union lead organiser John Gardner said he had a meeting with the company today.

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