Carter Holt Harvey has informed staff it plans to cut around 70 jobs in Rotorua and Tokoroa before Christmas.
Union members are meeting today to discuss the proposals, which would see 18 positions cut at its Tokoroa plywood plant and the closure of its Rotorua Profiles plant at a cost of more than 50 jobs including contractors.
The company has cited a fall in demand from export markets in Australia and a lack of new builds in New Zealand as the reason for the redundancies.
EPMU timber industry organiser Ron Angel says the announcement is bleak news just weeks before Christmas.
"This is the last thing people need in the lead up to Christmas. Our members had expected this may be in the pipeline, but there had been hope the Christchurch rebuild would provide enough work to keep things going. Sadly that hasn’t eventuated.
"Given there’s another hundred jobs set to go at the Norske Skog paper mill in Kawerau in January it’s not going to be easy for people to find alternative employment in the area. Union members will receive redundancy payments but that’ll only last for so long.
"These redundancies are yet another sign that New Zealand manufacturing is in crisis. We urgently need a strategy from the Government to stop the decline in our manufacturing sector and create jobs in places like Rotorua and Tokoroa."
The EPMU is supporting the Parliamentary Inquiry into the crisis in manufacturing, which was launched at the union’s Jobs Crisis Summit last month.