ABOUT 30 workers who make sofas for leading furniture retailer Freedom in Kings Park, Blacktown could become jobless in April.
Freedom has informed them that its owner Steinhoff Australia Pty Ltd (Manufacturing) will move its upholstery supply offshore and no longer stock locally-produced items in their stores across the country.
Multinational firm Steinhoff is the owner of retailers Freedom, Snooze and Bay Leather Republic.
In a letter to staff, Freedom managing director Tim Schaafsma said unless alternative customers were secured, production of sofas at the factory would cease around April.
‘‘Between now and April, we hope that alternative customers will be secured which will allow the factory to continue production,’’ he said.
He said the workers would receive a one-off ex-gratia payment of $2000 if they continue working until the order book for Freedom was completed.
Freedom’s announcement comes about a week after the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union launched the national TV campaign “Let’s Spread it Around”.
The campaign calls on both sides of politics to use the mining boom to protect the jobs of Australian workers in industries such as manufacturing, tourism and education.
Its Forestry & Furnishing Products Division NSW secretary Craig Smith wants Freedom and Steinhoff rethink the decision to take jobs offshore.
“We want Freedom to reverse this decision, and recognise that Australian consumers have a strong preference for quality, locally-made products,’’ Mr Smith said.
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor called on all political leaders to come to the election with serious plans on how to better manage the mining boom for the benefit of all Australians.
“Rather than allowing the jobs of hard-working Australians to be shifted offshore, we are fighting for policies that will go towards supporting local employment,” he said.
A spokeswoman said Freedom Australia had taken the decision to achieve production cost benefits which would be passed on to customers.
‘‘This decision is not a reflection on the production, processes, quality or staff at the Sydney operation.
‘‘It is due to a change in the upholstery supply strategy which Freedom has chosen to take,’’ she said.
‘‘Freedom retains the design element of the range and will maintain quality control.
‘‘Customers should expect the same quality range.’’