Redundancies at NZ rope factory

Dunedin rope manufacturer Donaghys’ Industries is set to lay off up to 30 workers because of the effects of the high New Zealand dollar.

​The Otago Daily Times reports that the company announced yesterday that it had begun to consult with staff and unions about a restructure that will include the sacking of almost half its employees.

According to Managing Director Jeremy Silva, Donaghys’ is performing well in the local market but, because of the high dollar, its exports are finding it hard to compete with products from Asia and Europe.

Silva said that four years ago, Donaghys' exports to Australia were 28% cheaper than European products.

''Now we are 15% more expensive,'' he added.

When asked if some of the 30-odd jobs could be saved, Silva said, ''I can't answer that. We're going to do our best, and be as flexible as we can.''

The company plans to move into high-tech areas as part of the restructure.

''The old parts of the factory are in trouble, but the new parts of the factory are doing very well, and growing quite rapidly,'' Silva said.

''We haven't taken this review lightly and are making every attempt possible to continue to offer employment to as many staff in the growing parts of the factory as we can.''

First Union organiser Ken Young agreed that the job losses were a result of the high dollar.

''It's totally about the dollar. It's not about the product the guys make or anything like that,'' he said

''We will be working closely with the company to ensure a fair and proper process is conducted, which I'm sure it will be.

''This company has a history of being excellent to work with, a good employer. This is the last thing they wanted to do.”

​As reports, the past five years have been hard for the Dunedin manufacturing sector. There have been several plant closures and redundancies in that period. Many of these were related to the closure of the KiwiRail Hillside Engineering Workshops.

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