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Tritec lays off 25 workers as global slump hurts sales

By Paul McBeth

Wednesday 10th December 2008

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Tritec Manufacturing, which makes baby strollers and exports 90% of output, will eliminate 25 workers and may cut more jobs next year as the global economic slump hurts sales.

The Lower Hutt manufacturer’s factory is operating at half normal capacity, and sales have dropped by a third in the last 12 months, it said in a statement.

Acting chief executive Peter Robertson said the weaker New Zealand dollar probably won’t benefit the company for “up to six or seven months.”

The world’s biggest economies look set to contract simultaneously in the next 12 months, the first such line up since WWII. New Zealand’s economy probably shrank in the first nine months of this year, spurring companies to reduce costs and lay off staff.

Members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union plan to picket outside the factory this afternoon after negotiations for a redundancy package stalled. Tritec wasn’t willing to offer more than four weeks pay, EPMU organiser Mark James said.

The job cuts highlight the extent and speed of the economic downturn for Tritec, which hired 22 workers last year after doubling its production and boosting revenue to almost NZ$30 million. It was a finalist in the exporter category of this year’s Wellington Region Gold Awards, which recognises key areas of business characterising the region.

Robertson said reduced management and administration costs, combined with the job cuts and a weaker kiwi dollar may prevent the need to reduce the workforce further.

“The union has a good understanding of our position, and the company wishes an amicable settlement can be reached,” Robertson said.

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