Labor disputes in New Zealand could lead to toilet paper shortages

Headquarters based in Australia have been embroiled in two labor disputes in New Zealand, one of which could lead to a shortage of toilet paper.

Health and hygiene giant Essity and Australian packaging and recycling company Visy have been unable to agree terms of new deals with Kiwi workers.

Some 145 workers at the plant in Kawerau have been laid off and laid off indefinitely by the Essity owners.

The mill supplies most of New Zealand’s toilet paper, and Pulp and Paper Union Kawerau Secretary Tane Phillips said the standstill could see kiwifruit run out.

“We’re the only place that really does it from scratch in New Zealand,” said Phillips.

The factory is the largest employer in Kawerau, an inland town in the Bay of Plenty, and produces about 70 per cent of New Zealand’s toilet paper.

Supermarkets are monitoring the situation, with Woolworths-owned Countdown working with Essity to manage the supply.

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