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40 jobs lost at abattoir

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March 09, 2018

Riverside Meats has announced the closure of its Echuca abattoir, leaving 40 people unemployed.

About 40 people have lost their jobs — effective immediately — following the announcement Riverside Meats will close its Echuca abattoir after more than 35 years of operation.

In a letter to employees, the Echuca abattoir said it was with ‘‘deep regret’’ the business would be stopping production from Monday.

‘‘Unfortunately, the business has not been making profits for some time now and on a review undertaken by its accountants we have come to the realisation that we simply cannot afford to keep operating the plant,’’ the letter said.

‘‘As a result, there will be no work available for employees from this time forward and the decision has been taken to terminate the employment of all employees by reason of redundancy.

‘‘We would welcome any suggestions from you which might result in us being able to change this decision, but in the absence of any such workable suggestions, the redundancies will take effect from Monday.’’

The letter said those employees entitled to redundancy pay would be paid out in ‘‘due course’’.

A reference that has not thrilled the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union.

Victorian branch assistant secretary Barrie Chalkley said the company and workers had been negotiating up until last week following the walkout of workers and their picket line last year.

That was sparked by a breakdown in negotiations over wages and conditions — the main concern of the workers was about the tally system, an incentive program paying them more for increased output.

‘‘We tried to contact the company yesterday, no answers,’’ Mr Chalkley said.

‘‘We’ve sent emails about when the redundancies are going to be paid, generally when they do something like this all the redundancies are paid up.

‘‘They replied it’s going to be paid in ‘due course’ and that is not good enough.

‘‘We will certainly be chasing that up at our end.

The company had not returned the Riverine Herald’s calls about the closure.

— Riverine Herald

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