The scene of a fire at Swickers Bacon Factory on Sunday, November 6.
The scene of a fire at Swickers Bacon Factory on Sunday, November 6. Heath Pukallus

FACTORY FIRE: Swickers to compensate employees

UPDATE, 1PM: Swickers has announced it plans to compensate its employees, and get them back to work within a week.

SunPork Group managing director Robert van Barneveld said employees would be back at work, either at Swickers or at an abattoir in New South Wales by the end of this week.

The company held a press conference on Monday afternoon following the factory fire on Sunday.

More to come

EARLIER: SWICKERS Bacon Factory is committed to re-building the damaged parts of the facility and maintaining its current workforce.

SunPork Group managing director Robert van Barneveld said the company planned to have the processing floor operating within a week after fire destroyed the export distribution centre, boning room and chillers on Sunday morning.

Swickers outlined its re-building plans to more than 450 staff members at a meeting at Kingaroy Town Hall on Sunday evening.

"It was crucial that we convene a meeting in the Kingaroy Town Hall this evening so all staff had the opportunity to understand the situation and ask questions," Dr van Barneveld said.

"More than 450 staff were in attendance and we advised them that we are committed to re-building the site and that our intention is to maintain our current workforce."

The processing floor, value add facilities, offices, new warehouse chiller and dry goods store were not affected, but services to some of these sites have not been restored.

Dr van Barneveld said the plan to make the processing floor operational again ensured all producers and processors had a destination for their pigs in the lead up to Christmas.

Short term arrangements are being made for alternative processing in the coming week.

"We are also in discussions with other boning facilities to meet our needs until such time that our own facilities can be restored, and we will work with our staff to develop re-deployment plans in these facilities for the duration," he said.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support being offered by the community, government, our staff, the pork industry and related industries at this time and the efforts of the emergency services on site."

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but is not being treated as suspicious.

South Burnett


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