28 May 2011

Heinz shifting some production to NZ

4:21 am on 28 May 2011

Heinz is shifting some of its Australian food production to New Zealand as part of a company restructure.

The production of sauces, beetroot processing and some meals will now take place at its two plants in Hastings.

Some 344 jobs will go in Australia, including 146 when it closes its sauce factory at Girgarre in Victoria's northwest.

Another 160 jobs will go at the Golden Circle plant in Northgate in Brisbane and 38 at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Beverage facilities in Brisbane and a baby food plant at Echuca in Victoria will be upgraded.

However, Heinz does not expect that the restructuring will result in the creation of many new jobs in New Zealand.

Regional chief executive Nigel Comer says the Hastings plants can easily absorb an increase in production, meaning there will be only a small number of new jobs.

A spokesperson for the Service & Food Workers' Union, Chas Muir, says while New Zealand workers will benefit, not everyone is smiling.

"Union officials never delight in any workers losing their jobs, irrespective of what country they're in. We're in receipt of a few job gains here in New Zealand this time, but it is always sad that other workers are having to lose their jobs."