Kaitaia: JNL addressing milltown dilemma

Wednesday 17 Oct 2018

Returning Kaitaia’s triboard mill to profitability - Late last week Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) confirmed that its plan to refurbish its Kaitaia Triboard mill will go ahead, securing wood processing jobs in the town for the long-term.

The company told Triboard staff in September that it wanted to make changes at the mill, including investing to refurbish the plant and technology and return it to profitability. JNL said at the time that the changes would include some job losses as the plant had been running at a substantial loss.

JNL employs around 250 full-time staff across its Northland operations and its Triboard Mill in Kaitaia is one of the town’s major employers.

New Zealand General Manager of JNL, Dave Hilliard, says the mill has to change to survive – including the way it works. That means going from a 24/7 operation to running the mill 24 hours a day, five days a week.

“The mill needs to adapt production to meet the challenges of log supply and product demand and allow for the maintenance required on the weekends.

“For the long term future of this mill in Kaitaia, both sides have had to make compromises – workers here have always had a four days on, four days off shift pattern and we thank the Etu and First Unions for their work to find a solution that works for its members and the plant.

“This change means certainty for our people and the Kaitaia community about the future of this plant. We couldn’t keep on running the mill at a loss seven days a week when we don’t have the logs to put through it or the demand for that level of output.”

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