Fisher & Paykel announces 180 jobs to go

Fisher & PaykelFisher & Paykel Appliances have announced plans to close its East Tamaki factory in Auckland, with more than 180 jobs expected to be lost.

The company briefed staff on the upcoming closure on Tuesday afternoon, it said in a statement.

The plant, which will have phased closures likely to take place in July and November, manufactures a range of small refrigeration products.

The company’s managing director and CEO, Stuart Broadhurst, said the factory was no longer sustainable due to a lack of scale and cost-competitiveness.

Broadhurst said, in an interview on Checkpoint, they have managed to stave off a closure for many years, “but the fact is in a global market we really need to make this decision now, this difficult decision, and it is no longer sustainable and has to be closed”.

“We have done everything we can to make this work,” he said.

Rather than have the employees leave through redundancy, Broadhurst said the company would work with them to find alternative employment.

“We have spent a lot of time with this group and they have a great set of skills, are committed, great attitude and they will be the type of people that anybody would want to hire,” he said.

Broadhurst said the manufacture of consumer whiteware and refrigeration products will be done in the company’s plant in Thailand and China. The planned closure of the factory will mark the end of the production of complete appliances in New Zealand.

When asked about the company’s financial standing, Broadhurst said the company didn’t make a profit last year. “We were investing heavily in growing the business and every dollar we make goes back into growing and building resources to deliver growth for the business.”

E Tu union national secretary, Bill Newson, said the possibility of the factory closing had been hanging over the company for some time but the decision had been a major blow to the workforce.

Newson said the company had worked with the unions and workforce to keep the jobs and had been open about production in New Zealand declining. But, he said nothing could be done to save the jobs.

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