1 Jun 2011

Yarrows worker fears for future of town

10:03 am on 1 June 2011

A worker at the Yarrows bakery in Manaia, which has been placed in receivership, says colleagues are worried about the future of the South Taranaki town.

About 200 people work at Yarrows Family Bakers, which supplies frozen bread dough for all Subway sandwich outlets in Australasia and East Asia and exports to North America, the Pacific, and the United Arab Emirates.

The company called in receivers on Monday, informing staff that work would continue for now, but that the bakery is up for sale.

Bernie Craig has worked at the firm for over 15 years, and says workers are angry, gloomy and worried about the impact on the town if the bakery closes.

Mr Craig says while some staff have already left to take up jobs elsewhere, he and others have close ties to Manaia and want to stay.

Receivers BDO won't reveal what forced the company into receivership but Whanganui MP Chester Borrows thinks tough contracts from overseas customers may have been the cause.

"There had been some contract provisions from some of their bigger customers overseas that were forcing some terms that required a reconfiguration of the Manaia site.

"We hope that we can be optimistic about the future and that the plant will continue to operate even if it is with some other configuration or with someone else leading things."

South Taranaki mayor Russ Dunlop is optimistic a buyer can be found. Mr Dunlop says he has been speaking to the receivers and was to have some discussions with the local manager on Wednesday.

In 2009 the company blamed 28 layoffs on an expansion to Sydney taking work from Manaia and and there was talk of further restructuring last summer.