Whirlpool plans to start closing its refrigerator plant in Evansville, Indiana, on 26 March eliminating 1,100 local jobs. It has decided to shift its operation to Mexico. Why? Lower labour costs.
As the world’s largest home appliance maker, Whirlpool makes a healthy profit.
The AFL CIO (our CTU equivalent) reports Whirlpool has has received a $19 million economic matching grant that should be creating jobs in America. They’ve started a petition to Keep it made in America
In April 2008 Fisher and Paykel announced about 1,000 jobs, or 28 percent of the total work force, would be lost in New Zealand, Australia and the northern United States as plants were relocated to Mexico, Thailand and Italy, where a similar number of new jobs would be created.
Fisher and Paykel said at the time that labour costs in Mexico were about a sixth of those in New Zealand.
Sooo… what happens next time there’s a plan to outsource, offshore, a lot of NZ jobs?
Or, next time there’s the potential to create and provide certainty for a bunch of jobs in New Zealand through investment in local infrastructure, such as the electrification of Auckland rail.
Are cheaper labour costs (in China, Mexico) the bottom line? Or should our economic development rest upon a wider set of values? Maintaining and building skills. Encouraging local innovation. Building our own export base. Keeping kiwi jobs kiwi.
And what should the role of government be?