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Lion to trim workforce in New Zealand

Lion NZ
Lion NZ
Lion NZ’s head office.

New Zealand liquor company and brewer Lion will lay off about 3 per cent of its workforce as part of an internal restructure, with most affected workers working in sales and administration.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Lion would not confirm the exact job roles but confirmed about 30 full-time jobs would go.

“We are still working through the process with our people and are still looking at redeployment options for some of those affected,” a spokeswoman for Lion said.

In a statement, Lion said it plans to “reshape the business” due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the shutdown of hospitality businesses across the country. Lion said on-premise sales declined by 33 per cent in 2020.

“We constantly monitor our operational requirements and we needed to do some reshaping of the business. However, we are also taking the opportunity to invest in areas of the business that provide value to our customers and consumers, such as digital, and also adopting agile in some parts of the business,” Lion said.

The brewery said its priority and main concern is how they can support its staff during the changes within the company. Currently Lion employs 1000 staff in New Zealand and states on its website that it generates $818 million worth of economic activity in the region.

Jared Abbot, First Union secretary for transport, logistics and manufacturing, suggested the layoffs are related to a change in the way liquor is being sold.

“We’ve been doing a bit of work on these sites lately and they’ve been super busy. There was a lot of alcohol that was returned from bars in forms of kegs during the lockdowns because the restaurant trade and bars were closed. The output of bottled alcohol for supermarkets and liquor stores has increased considerably – I don’t think alcohol consumption, in general, has decreased, it has just changed in terms of how it is consumed,” Abbott told the New Zealand Herald.

Lion distributes popular liquor brands including Stella Artois, Corona, Smirnoff, Baileys and Johnnie Walker.

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