17 Dec 2010

Hundreds of jobs lost in lead-up to Christmas

9:51 pm on 17 December 2010

Tough economic times have forced employers to lay off at least 270 people, not long before Christmas.

On Monday, Pike River Coal went into receivership, and 114 workers on the West Coast were subsequently made redundant.

This was followed by an announcement of 21 job losses at several provincial offices of Inland Revenue, including eight from Greymouth.

The wood industry has suffered 140 job losses in sawmills in Tangiwai near Waiouru, Gisborne and Kawarau.

The National Distribution Union says it is worried about more job losses in the timber industry during the first few months of 2011. It says many companies are losing orders because of the high New Zealand dollar, with a number saying they are losing money.

Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg says the volume of job losses is surprising, given the period is usually a time of stronger demand, and will mean a very tough time for many workers over Christmas.

The Employers and Manufactuers Association says while job losses are especially upsetting for workers near Christmas time, in many situations firms have been forced to let staff go.

It says the lay-offs show it has been a very tough year for businesses, as they work their way out of the global financial crisis.