Rain puts back meatworks operation

RECENT heavy rain has forced management at one of Rockhampton’s big meatworks to delay today’s scheduled production start until next week.

Teys Brothers chief executive Brad Teys said he was disappointed by the delay at the company’s Lakes Creek meatworks, but hoped everything would be right to restart next week.

Mr Teys yesterday said the outlook for 2010 wasn’t great because of a significant drop in livestock numbers.

The Rockhampton meatworks has had to trim its staff numbers, though Mr Teys wasn’t divulging precise numbers yesterday.

“We have had to cut some people,” Mr Teys said.

“Our primary focus is to get the people that are here a full week’s pay.”

He said natural attrition and reducing overtime accounted for the bulk of the cutbacks.

“We have cut back one shift and will run a four-day operation with 1600 head a day,” Mr Teys said.

“We think it’s going to be a very tough year with livestock supply.”

Before Christmas staff at the 1000- employee plant were told the company was considering its options, including reducing the numbers of staff at Rockhampton.

At the same time in Biloela, 40 foreign workers got the chop at Teys’ other CQ plant.

It has been a tough period for the meatworks, which was also damaged during last year’s bushfires.

In January last year at the height of the global financial crisis, the Rockhampton meatworks general manager Wasantha Mudannayake said that the company was determined to hold on to its staff.

“We’ve worked too hard in the past few years building our workforce up from 141 people to more than 1000 to let things go,” Mr Mudannayake said.

“You have to take the good times with the bad and we want to keep people employed.”

Meanwhile a spokesman for Rockhampton’s Swift meatworks yesterday said production had been going for the past couple of weeks.

John Berry, director and manager of corporate and regulatory affairs, said the meatworks was processing its usual capacity “day in and day out”.



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