The Council of Trade Unions says the export manufacturing sector is in a desperate situation, demonstrated by three large companies laying off up to 200 people in recent weeks.
The CTU says the Government needs to support manufacturers, as there is a growing fear more redundancies are inevitable because of the continued high value of the dollar.
Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce says job losses are tough.
However, he says the labour market is dynamic. While about a quarter of a million jobs are created each year, just as many are lost.