New Zealand meat processor Alliance Group Ltd is to move sheepmeat processing from its Mataura Plant to its Lorneville Plant near Invercargill.
The proposal will affect approximately 260 sheepmeat processing employees at the Mataura Plant, who will all be offered the opportunity to transfer to Lorneville. Around 65 management, supervisors, engineers and administration staff will also be affected.
Under the plans, now the subject of a consultation period with staff and unions, the co-operative’s beef processing facility will remain at Mataura. 750 people are currently employed at the Mataura Plant.
Grant Cuff, Chief Executive of Alliance Group, said the change to the mix of processing across its Southland plants was vital for the co-operative, which is owned by 5,000 farmer shareholders.
“This proposal has been driven by the declining sheep and lamb numbers in the southern region and the reality that there is too much processing capacity for the amount of stock available.
“We’ve worked hard to create a sustainable complementary sheep, lamb and beef processing operation at Mataura and explored a wide range of options. However, it has become increasingly clear the future of Mataura Plant is as a beef processing plant.
“As a responsible co-operative, Alliance Group continually evaluates the best configuration of its plants, and with no material improvement in stock numbers forecast, we regrettably have to propose ceasing sheep and lamb operations at Mataura.”
He added: “Given the market conditions and the declining stock numbers, the past season has been challenging for Alliance Group and we recognise this consultation period will be unsettling for employees and the Mataura community.
“We are committed to supporting our employees through the proposed change. We have informed our employees as early as possible and the proposal includes an opportunity for them to transfer to the Lorneville Plant.
This is a consultation process and no decisions will be made until we have considered the feedback of staff and unions.“
Alliance Group remains committed to Mataura, investment in other plants and improvements to its operations in the coming years, said Mr Cuff.
“We recently invested $15 million in an upgrade of the Mataura beef processing plant so Mataura will continue to play a key role in our operations.
“As one of the largest employers in Southland, Alliance Group is a major contributor to the Southland and wider New Zealand economies so this has been a difficult decision.
“With a strong balance sheet, Alliance Group is well positioned during what is an undoubtedly challenging period for the industry as a whole.
“We are confident in the long-term outlook and these changes are essential to allow the company and its 5,000 farmer shareholders to benefit from the demand for New Zealand meat products in the global market.”
Back to News Headlines