SAD DAY: J Smith and Sons general manager Kerren Smith.
SAD DAY: J Smith and Sons general manager Kerren Smith. CONTRIBUTED

Employees struggle to survive through Christmas

THE 67 workers who lost their jobs after the demise of J Smith and Sons on Monday were yesterday working out how to get through Christmas with no income.

The 113-year-old company, that manufactured specialised trailers for the transport, mining and agricultural sectors, went into voluntary liquidation after orders dried up.

One employee, who wished not to be named, said the closure had caught a lot of the workers by surprise.

He said a lot of the men hadn't been paid since November 15 when they were put on leave without pay.

They were told the company was waiting on a large contract to come through so it could recommence operations. Unfortunately it didn't eventuate.

About 2pm Monday, the employees received text messages or phone calls informing them of a 3.30 meeting at the factory.

It was then they were told that the company was being liquidated.

Deloitte is the company handling the liquidation.

"Nobody knew," he said.

"It caught everyone by surprise."

The former employee said the men now had to fill out "a million and one bits of paper work" and go through the government to try to claim any outstanding pay and entitlements as well as register with Centrelink.

He said some workers had been there for years and may be owed a lot in long service

"I have a daughter and most of the other guys have families and kids," he said.

"Everyone has mortgages or has to pay rent ... yet have no income. We just have to figure out what to do."

He said some employees had signed contracts on properties and now look set to lose deposits.

"It's hard for everyone," he said.

J Smith and Sons general manager Kerren Smith said in a press release on Monday that it was a "sad day".

He said after 113 years of the company providing high-quality products, training many skilled tradesmen, employment in the region and contributing to the community, the company had no other choice.

"This is a sad day for the Smith family, the many long-serving and loyal employees of J Smith & Sons and Gympie," Mr Smith said.

Gympie Times


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