News that the high New Zealand dollar has claimed another textile firm has come as a huge shock to those affected. Staff at Christchurch yarns were told that their firm had been placed in to receivership. A total of 85 workers are affected, and all are expected to be made redundant. The company is citing a downturn in orders, in particular in Australia, as demand for carpet weakens, and the punishingly high New Zealand dollar. First Union understands the company is proposing to employ a skeleton crew for a further three weeks on fixed term agreements to finish up orders. At the moment workers’ wages and holiday pay will be paid out, but any redundancy pay is not confirmed at this stage and it will go in as a preferential claim as per usual receivership scenarios. The status of long service entitlements is also still to be confirmed at this stage.
First Union general secretary Robert Reid said “This receivership follows on from that of Southern Cross Forest Products this year and Tachikawa Forest Products late last year. The primary product processing industries are particularly vulnerable and are being squeezed between high commodity process and the high dollar. Christchurch Yarns workers have a highly specialised skill set, and the workforce includes a number of older workers many of whom will find it difficult securing other work. We will make contact with Council and MSD officials to ensure workers get all the assistance they need, and will seek support to implement a redundancy support programme, similar to what we have done in recent years at Lane Walker Rudkin, Pacific Brands and Canterbury Spinners”.

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