Forty jobs axed at Biloela as cattle shortage hits production.
Forty jobs axed at Biloela as cattle shortage hits production.

Meatworks jobs may get the chop

MANAGEMENT at Rockhampton’s major meatworks factory yesterday say job cuts will be considered over the next few weeks.

Staff at the 1000 employee plant are facing an uncertain Christmas.

Teys Bros Rockhampton general manager Wasantha Mudannayake said a decision on job cuts would be made over the next few days as the company’s sister meatworks at Biloela yesterday announced 40 foreign workers were getting the cut.

Mr Mudannayake said slashing jobs was one of the options being investigated by the Rockhampton meatworks as livestock numbers dropped due to overseas exports.

He wouldn’t go into detail about what plans were being considered in the New Year but confirmed reducing the number of staff was an option.

He said it was hoped a decision on potential cuts would be made some time next week before the meatworks shuts down for the Christmas period.

“We will make a decision very soon,” Mr Mudannayake said.

“Right now we are negotiating everything; we have to look at all options.”

Mr Mudannayake said the significant drop in livestock numbers was putting local jobs at risk.

Tom Maguire, general manager at Teys Bros Biloela, said the plant would drop its afternoon shift to reduce the number of beasts being processed when it reopens next year.

He said the reason for the shift closure was due to a gloomy outlook, which the company expected to continue into 2011.

As a result, 40 foreign workers, some Korean, will lose their jobs.

“We expect very little or no change to our existing 350 business long-stay visa holders and Australian workforce,” Mr Maguire said.

“We are forecasting a dramatic reduction in available cattle in 2010, similar to the last quarter of this year.

“This has been driven by poor seasons, floods and large numbers of stock that have been live exported from Queensland.”

When the Biloela meatworks re-opens after the Christmas break it will operate a five-day single shift processing 554 head and a single boning shift.

“I would add that Teys is a financially sound company that has taken this decision to ensure long term sustainability of its Biloela business.”

Rockhampton meatworks Swift yesterday said there were no planned job cuts at the start of 2010.

John Berry, director and manager of corporate and regulatory affairs, said livestock supplies would determine the amount of work at the start of next year but so far there were no planned changes.

“It’s business as usual in 2010,” Mr Berry said of the company that employs about 535 people in Rockhampton.

He said the company would look to work as close to Christmas as possible and that historically there would be a two or three week break around the end of the year.

Teys Bros in Rockhampton plans to close down from December 18 until January 18, but Mr Mudannayake said the closure date might be brought forward.

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