Sanford Bluff to cut 17 jobs

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    Sanford is restructuring its fish processing operation. Photo: Luisa Girao

    AFTER weeks of uncertainty, Sanford’s Bluff workers now know their fate.

    The company announced earlier this week 17 workers would lose their jobs at its Bluff factory, which would focus on premium salmon production, while whitefish processing would be carried out at the Timaru site.

    Etu organiser Anna Huffstutler said it was feared up to 30 jobs could be lost but fortunately the cuts were smaller than expected. Redundancy packages would be offered.

    The amount each employee received depended on how long they had been employed, she said.

    Salmon factory workers would also be offered voluntary redundancy, but there would be no staffing cuts, she said.

    Sanford released a statement confirming the cut.

    Feedback during the consultation process had led to changes being made to the original proposal, the statement said.

    All those who had lost their jobs would be supported to find new ones, which included help with interview skills and CV writing.

    Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said he was proud of the professional way the employees had reacted and their considered feedback on the original proposal.

    “I have been back and forth to Bluff several times over the last few weeks and talking to the staff, often one-on-one. It has been good to hear from those who are seeing this as an opportunity to do something new.”

    Last weekend, Living Wage Bluff, Members of Parliament, members of the public and Sanford representatives were invited to discuss the proposed job losses workers faced.

    Sanford Processing general manager Terry Denley spoke to meeting attendees and answered questions.

    He said the reason for the job losses was because the whitefish plant had diminishing volumes over a number of years – “sometimes we go weeks without fish”.

    “Markets have changed… the world has changed, the volumes of fish have gone.”

    The company plans to focus on salmon farming, with the potential for a new salmon factory to be built ‘close by’ the existing Bluff factory.

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