Wool Spinners staff still waiting

Summit Wool Spinners staff fear they will still be left in the dark today about possible job losses at the Oamaru factory, despite a staff meeting this afternoon.

A memo circulated to staff on Wednesday, from managing director Harry Ogawa, said "at this stage no decisions have been made as to the future make-up of staff numbers or shift structures".

Today's meeting, at the Elim Church at 3.30pm, was to enable all staff to be "brought fully up to date and to explain the ongoing consultation process in regard to changes that will occur as a result".

"As you are all aware, due to factors beyond our control the company has been operating at less than full capacity for some time," the memo said.

The Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union will meet Summit management on Monday to talk about the over-capacity and how it related to staff.

The union gave union members $100 grocery vouchers on Wednesday.

Summit Wool Spinners, owned by the Sumitomo Corporation, is New Zealand's largest independent spinner, supplying carpet and rug yarn.

Summit director Ricky Hammond-Tooke has not returned calls from the Otago Daily Times since Monday, when he said the company was talking to unions this week.

He would not comment further.

Earlier this week, Work and Income regional labour market manager Paul Casson said Winz was ready to respond once an announcement was made at Summit.

He noted the dairy industry was strong in North Otago.

When contacted, North Otago Federated Farmers president Robert Borst said there had been a change in the number of people applying for jobs in the dairy industry.

Six months ago, farmers were lucky to get single-number replies, now they were getting "quite a number" of replies, particularly for positions not requiring a lot of experience.

However, he expected there would be very few positions available.

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