Ahlstrom in cost-cutting consultation

Ahlstrom paper plant at Chirnside is in consultation with its employees over ways to restructure the workforce and cut costs.

Plant manager Stuart Nixon confirmed that the company is in discussions with employees and the works council to find ways of cutting costs at the site.

“We are evaluating how to improve profits going forward,” he said. “Mainly we’re looking at things like our hot canteen, or our guest house. Those kind of things are just a cost to us.

Nixon declined to confirm or deny any estimated job losses, and stressed that the consultation was focusing on other methods of cutting costs.

“In terms of jobs and personnel, no decision has yet been made.Some changes will be made by removing some positions. And we will be looking for some people to combine roles. We will have to wait and see how the consultation period goes.

“We will still be producing all the same things as before - the tea bags and everything. But we want to ensure we move to a more efficient model.”

The consultation period of 30 days is due to end in late February.

The outcomes of the process will be a major undertaking for the plant, and could take up to 12 months to be fully implemented.