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NZCTU launches fundraiser for locked-out Kawerau Mill workers

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the Pulp and Paper Workers Union have launched a fundraiser to support the locked-out workers at Kawerau Mill.

Working people on strike at Kawerau Mill have been threatened with more than half a million dollars in damages by manufacturing giant Essity.

Essity, which manufactures for brands including Purex, Sorbent, Libra and Handee, is one of the largest hygiene and health companies in the world. In the first six months of 2022, it made a profit of $330 million NZD, with an increase in net sales of 27.8%.

145 millworkers have been locked out of their workplace by Essity since 9 August. The strike was prompted after the company refused to pay wages in line with inflation.

Last week, Essity instructed the company’s superannuation provider to block people from making financial hardship withdrawals from their own savings.

NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff said the company was trying to intimidate its workers.

“The retaliatory behaviour exhibited by Essity is shameful. New Zealanders will not stand for any company treating their people so poorly.

“This is a time of struggle for working people in Kawerau – and we all have a responsibility to give them the support they need.”

Pulp and Paper Workers Union National Secretary Tane Phillips has accused Essity of using starvation tactics.

“We must stand together with Kawerau Mill workers and their whānau.”

People can donate to the fundraiser at