20 June 2019
E tū says its members at Sanford’s Bluff fish-processing plant have been blind-sided by job cuts proposed by the
Up to 30 jobs – almost half Sanford’s Bluff workforce - could be lost if the proposal to move white-fish processing to
Timaru goes ahead.
E tū organiser, Anna Huffstutler says members were completely in the dark about Sanford’s plans until they were suddenly
called to a meeting on Tuesday.
“That was the first we’d heard of these plans,” says Anna.
“Our members were completely blind-sided. It had never been mentioned before. There was no discussion, not an inkling
that this was happening,” she says.
“The members are shell-shocked, absolutely shell-shocked. They feel like they’ve been lied to. They are really angry.
Some of them have worked there a long time.”
Anna says Sanford recently gained a resource consent to expand its salmon farms at Bluff, arguing this would bring jobs
and benefits to the community.
“So, the community thought things were solid in Bluff because Sanford made a commitment that there would be more jobs if
they got the consent. Now, what they’re saying is, that’s not going to happen for three years.
“People are furious, and they feel very misled.”
Anna says the move appears to be driven by profits.
“Sanford made a $66 million profit last year. So, I said to the CEO, Volker Kuntzsch, ‘How much is enough?’
“He told us shareholders want a $100 million profit and a 10 percent return on shares. So, it’s not like they’re doing
this out of financial hardship,” says Anna.
“Bluff’s a small place. There are no other jobs, so they’d have to look outside Bluff. It’s a real blow.”