Godfrey Hirst shuts Bromley plant after quake, cut 220 jobs

Article – BusinessDesk

March 15 (BusinessDesk) – Godfrey Hirst NZ Ltd., the Australian-owned carpet maker that snapped up the distressed Feltex assets in 2007, will close down its Bromley factory after the plant suffered extensive damage from last month’s earthquake.

Godfrey Hirst closes down Bromley plant after quake, eliminating 220 jobs

By Paul McBeth

March 15 (BusinessDesk) – Godfrey Hirst NZ Ltd., the Australian-owned carpet maker that snapped up the distressed Feltex assets in 2007, will close down its Bromley factory after the plant suffered extensive damage from last month’s earthquake.

The company’s subsidiary Canterbury Spinners Ltd. will lay off the 220 staff employed at the plant after negotiating redundancy provisions and a relocation agreement with the National Distribution Union, which represents about 120 of the workers. About 50 jobs will be offered to workers who are willing to relocate to Godfrey Hirst’s Dannevirke and Lower Hutt plants, and it will assist other staff to find alternative employment.

Rebuilding the plant would cost tens of millions dollars, and there would probably be a shortfall in insurance to cover the cost, Godfrey Hirst said. There was also uncertainty as to whether the site would be suitable for future use.

“The extensive damage to the plant and equipment has left us in the terrible situation of having to close the plant,” general manager Tania Pauling said in a statement. “We have a loyal and capable team at Canterbury Spinners, and the company is saddened that, owing to events beyond its control, it will lose a significant number of skilled staff who are unable to relocate to the North Island.”

Godfrey Hirst has upped production at the two North Island plants as a stop-gap to meet customer demand.

It said it remains committed to the Canterbury region and will consider re-establishing a new plant if it can find suitable space. Still, it would be a further two years before a new operation would be up and running.

(BusinessDesk)

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