27 Nov 2013

Hancock rejects union's claim relating to closed sawmill

7:26 pm on 27 November 2013

A logging supply company is rejecting a union's claim that it's put its financial needs ahead of the workforce from the now closed Tachikawa sawmill in Rotorua.

First Union has accused Hancock Forest Management of pursuing legal action against the sawmill's receiver, KordaMentha, to try to recoup its investment in the mill.

Tachikawa workers - most of whom are Maori - protested outside Hancock's Rotorua office on Wednesday, after receiving notice from KordaMentha this week saying their payout would be delayed because of legal action by an unnamed company.

The union says members believed Hancock was pursuing court proceedings.

But on Wednesday, Hancock general manager Bill McCullum told Tachikawa workers that the claim was simply inaccurate.

Mr McCullum says any claim from Hancock would come behind the needs of Tachikawa staff.

His company hasn't filed a legal challenge, but has registered a claim for surplus funding, which the company says may be available after payment to staff is made.

The union says KordaMentha has said that progress is being made on staff payouts, which the union hopes could mean members might be paid by Christmas.