Freedom to send sofa-making offshore
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SYDNEY, Feb 15 AAP
February 15 2013, 4:06PM
Furniture retailer Freedom is shutting down its factory in western Sydney as sofa production is shifted overseas.
The company announced on Friday that it had decided to move its upholstery supply to offshore vendors and stop manufacturing products at its Kings Park facility from April.
"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," Freedom said in a statement on Friday.
"This change will achieve production cost benefits which will then be passed on to customers."
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said the decision would directly affect around 30 workers at the factory, who were notified by a letter from the company's managing director.
The CFMEU claims that, as a result, Freedom will no longer stock locally-produced items in their stores across Australia.
"It is outrageous that Freedom, a retailer that has a long history of trading on the quality workmanship of their expert team of Australian upholsterers, has told those very same staff that in just two months their jobs will be sent overseas," the union's Craig Smith said in a statement.
"This announcement is a stark reminder of the urgent need for action to support the manufacturing sector, which has become one of the innocent victims of the mining boom."
Mr Smith urged Freedom and its parent company, global firm Steinhoff, to reconsider its decision and recognise that Australian consumers have a strong preference for quality, locally-made products.
Freedom said customers should expect the same quality across its range.