The announcement that Auckland-based furniture maker Criterion Manufacturing Limited has gone into receivership is a blow for workers at the company as well as country, says the EPMU, the union representing manufacturing workers.
About 40 unionised workers at Criterion's East Tamaki factory were told on Tuesday afternoon the company was shutting its doors and Australian receivers, KordaMentha, were being brought in. Criterion is the largest office furniture manufacturer in Australasia with over 100 staff employed by the company and its subsidiary operations.
"This is a very difficult situation for these workers, many of whom are long serving. They are now suddenly without an income and have no idea if they'll get their outstanding wages and holiday pay," says Louisa Jones, EPMU National Industry Organiser. "It's also another body blow for our economy when a well established exporting company like Criterion shuts its doors ."
The EPMU says it will be working with the company's Receivers to ensure that workers get their full legal entitlements in terms of wages and holiday pay but there is no redundancy agreement in place at the company. "Management had always said that the business was growing and that there'd never be the need for a redundancy agreement .There is obviously a lesson here for other workers," says Ms Jones.
The EPMU is also working with government agencies such as WINZ to ensure Criterion workers get the necessary financial support they need as a result of their company's collapse.