25 Oct 2013

Rotorua sawmill workers lose jobs

7:29 pm on 25 October 2013

More than 120 workers at a Rotorua sawmill have now been told they have lost their jobs.

Workers at Tachikawa Forest Products were handed termination notices at a meeting with the sawmill's receivers, KordaMentha, on Friday morning.

The sawmill closed on 18 October and workers have been waiting for a week to find out exactly what is happening to their jobs.

The First Union's general secretary, Robert Reid, says the receivers have told the employees they will not be able to restart trading and are seeking a buyer for the business and assets.

Mr Reid says while the workers are relieved to know where they stand, they are upset and unsure of what their future now holds.

He says they are owed significant redundancy payments and holiday pay which they will not get for some time.

Mr Reid says other sawmills in Bay of Plenty have indicated they can take on some of the workers, but not all. Some are already looking at re-training in other industries, but others have not even got over the shock of losing their jobs.

Turei Heurea has worked at the mill for 20 years and says it's a huge loss for Rotorua. Mr Heurea believes up to 500 people, including the workers' families and contractors who relied on the mill, will be affected. He says he will either look for other work or re-train in another industry.