Press Release – Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union
The collapse of printing firm Geon has resulted in 185 job losses, its new owners the Blue Star Group announced to staff this afternoon. Staff were told the Wellington site will close, Napier will run at reduced capacity, and 50 fulltime workers and 20 temporary workers will be kept on at the Highbrook site in Auckland.
EPMU print sector organiser Joe Gallagher says the news is a blow for workers.
“This was a poorly managed company that was laden with an unsustainable amount of debt, and just like at Solid Energy it’s the workers who are paying the price for mismanagement at the top.
“While these job losses won’t be a surprise to anyone it’s a dark day for workers and their families. Some of our members have been there 16 years or more and they now find themselves in a very uncertain job market.
“This is very a tough time to find yourself unemployed. Just this week we’ve seen hundreds of people apply for seven packing jobs worth $15 an hour at Carter Holt Harvey. People are desperate for work and the jobs just aren’t there.
“We’re looking forward to working with new owners the Blue Star Group to make sure the conditions of existing staff are honoured and those who have been made redundant receive their full entitlements.”
Statement by Blue Star Group
The receivers of GEON, not Blue Star Group, were responsible for terminating jobs at various GEON sites around the country. Blue Star Group has saved 88 permanent jobs including 38 at Kiwi Labels and 50 at GEON’s Highbrook and Napier sites. Additionally, Blue Star has provided 38 former GEON employees with short term contracts which may eventually become longer term employment. Any redundancy entitlements, except for those 88 saved jobs, are the responsibility of the receiver and not Blue Star Group.