EPMU on Croxley: manufacturing needs government support

The Engineers Printers and Manufacturers Union has called on the government to back manufacturing after Croxley announced a proposal to cut 100 jobs and its Avondale plant.

Joe Gallagher, national industry organiser for EPMU, says New Zealand manufacturers found themselves having to close or take work overseas, taking valuable jobs with them and that government inaction hasn’t helped. He says, ‘‘We need a government which will take manufacturing seriously and help companies to keep their work in New Zealand. He workers who will lose their jobs have done nothing wrong and the company feels its making the only decision it can in the economic circumstance.”

Joe Gallagher, national industry organiser for EPMU

Joe Gallagher, national industry organiser for EPMU

Croxley will look at closing its Avondale plant in Auckland so it can move from being a wholesaler with some locally made products, to being a wholesaler only. It has informed staff about the job losses and consultation will take place over the next two weeks.

The company has supplied stationery in New Zealand for nearly a century. its brands include Collins, Olympic, and Warwick. David Lilburne, managing director at Croxley, says he feels, ‘‘truly sorry’’ for staff, adding that the company had looked hard for alternative solutions without taking the decision lightly. He says, “We will be working with affected staff individually to assist them through the process.”

He lays the blame for the decision on the easy access of consumers to cheaper imported products along with the high dollar; the foreign exchange rate hurting Croxley’s export chances. On top of that, he cited the decline in physical mail and a reduced demand for traditional paper-based office products. He says, “Emails have replaced envelopes and writing pads.”

He also points out that a continued capital investment in machinery required to keep producing stationery doesn’t stack up in the declining market.

The company will also work with customers with to ensure supply of products continues without interruption. It expects to make a final decision by September 4. If the proposal goes ahead, Croxley will phase out the manufacturing business between now and the middle of next year.

Fellow stationery firm Hallmark recently announced plans to outsource its New Zealand operations to another company, cutting 106 jobs. The company blamed the decision on local market factors and an attempt to control costs.


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