13 Apr 2016

Cavalier workers 'gutted' at potential job cuts

6:56 pm on 13 April 2016

Carpet manufacturer Cavalier has announced a major restructure that will potentially cost 65 jobs.

It intends closing its Christchurch plant and transferring its Whanganui operations in favour of a single hub for its yarn-spinning operations at Napier.

A number of jobs could also move to Whanganui in the proposed restructure.

The company told affected staff at its Christchurch and Whanganui plants today

First Union spokesperson Kay Hearfield said the workers in Whanganui first heard of the restructure at 2pm, and were devastated.

"They are bombshelled, they are gutted, it's like just walking into a brick wall. And the reality is, where do we get 40-hour employment in Whanganui?"

Ms Hearfield said Cavalier employed 113 machinists in Whanganui.

Cavalier Corporation chief executive Paul Alston said the proposed changes followed a review of manufacturing processes and came on the back of decreasing demand for woollen carpet.

He said it was a tough time for the staff, but Cavalier needed to futureproof its business.

The company wants to set up a yarn spinning hub at Napier that will create 39 jobs and a new felting operation - employing 40 staff - in Whanganui.

It said many staff will be offered the opportunity to retrain or transfer.