12 Jul 2018

Job losses at Nestle NZ after decision to sell off brands

7:34 pm on 12 July 2018

Up to 55 jobs will be lost following Nestle New Zealand's decision to sell some of the country's favourite sweet brands.

Nestle's logo.

Nestle selling off the smaller New Zealand brands to focus on their bigger brands. Photo: AFP

Nestle New Zealand will sell Mackintosh's, Heards, Black Knight and Fabulicious Red Licorice and has proposed selling Life Savers and Oddfellows to private equity company, Quadrant.

The brands will still be made in New Zealand but manufacturing will move to Levin.

Nestle Confectionary general manager Martin Brown said Nestle regretted that the proposal would mean job losses at their Wiri-based factory in Auckland.

The company were selling off the smaller New Zealand brands to focus on their bigger brands, head of corporate affairs Margaret Stuart said.

The union, E tū are shocked and have called the announcement a "bolt from the blue".

Nestle were asked by the union six months ago whether there were plans to sell-off product lines and cut staff in New Zealand, following international closures, E tū Industry Coordinator for Manufacturing and Food Phil Knight said.

"We were assured there were no plans to do any of that in New Zealand," he said.

"Not only is this the opposite of what we were told, but we weren't invited to the meetings they held with our members late yesterday afternoon to deliver this news, prior to the public announcement."

The decision comes soon after the closure of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin and the announcement of future job losses at Griffins and Kraft Heinz Watties.

"It's just more and more of the same where global corporations come into New Zealand and they invest and employ people for a while and then they make decisions to restructure and it is very much at the cost of people's livelihoods."

The new manufacturer RJ's said in a statement they would offer jobs at their Levin-based factory to those made redundant.

However, Mr Knight said they had not received details of the alternative work offers.

"While the union-negotiated collective agreement has very generous redundancy provisions, it is not the same as a job, and we are worried about this coming on top of other job losses in the food manufacturing industry in New Zealand."

Staff and unions will now be consulted for two weeks before a final decision is made.

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