2 Mar 2009

Sealord to cut 180 jobs in Nelson

6:33 pm on 2 March 2009

New Zealand's biggest fishing company, Sealord, is to cut 180 jobs at its Nelson processing plant and warns the entire factory could close if further savings are not made.

The news is further blow for Nelson, after 170 workers at Sealord's shellfish factory lost their jobs last year.

Sealord says the fish processing plant is not viable and it will close the night shift within weeks, cutting the operation in half.

The company says it is far cheaper to process the fish at sea and has commissioned a new factory trawler for this.

Management and other salaried positions in Nelson will also go in a shake-up which the company says is vital to cut costs in tough times.

Sealord chief executive Graham Stuart says it is a case of losing some jobs to save many more. The company is also selling mussel farms in Marlborough.

The Service and Food Workers Union is worried that the whole factory will be closed if Sealord does not achieve its aim of saving a further $1.8 million a year.