Unilever jobs to go

Shepparton News - Country News - - DAIRY NEWS -

A big-bud­get pur­chase of sev­eral iconic food brands in 2013 will mean up to 40 work­ers at Unilever’s Tatura plant will be out of a job by the end of this year.

Mil­lions of jars of pasta sauces with the la­bels Rag­uletto, Five Broth­ers and Chicken Tonight are sold in Aus­tralian su­per­mar­kets each year, and un­til 2013 they were brands owned by Unilever.

In Aus­tralia the pop­u­lar brands are pro­duced at Unilever’s fa­cil­ity at Tatura, even af­ter Unilever sold the Aus­tralian own­er­ship of the brands to a food man­u­fac­turer in the United King­dom — Syming­ton’s Ltd — in 2013.

Af­ter the 2013 deal Unilever had the con­tract to pro­duce the brand for Syming­ton’s, but last year Syming­ton’s sold off the brands to Sim­plot Aus­tralia.

In De­cem­ber last year, Sim­plot Aus­tralia in­formed Unilever that it wanted to pro­duce the pop­u­lar brands in-house, and that they would no longer be made at Tatura’s Unilever fa­cil­ity.

A Unilever spokesper­son said pro­duc­tion of the brands would leave the Tatura plant in April.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately this change will re­sult in a re­duc­tion of up to 40 roles at our Tatura site, which we are look­ing to man­age on a vol­un­tary ba­sis and will be phased un­til the end of the year,’’ the spokesper­son said.

‘‘We recog­nise the im­pact this has on those em­ploy­ees af­fected and we are fo­cused on sup­port­ing them, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing out­place­ment sup­port to help find new em­ploy­ment.’’

For­mer Greater Shep­par­ton coun­cil­lor Kevin ‘Gunna’ Ryan said the job losses would hit the town hard.

‘‘Forty jobs is a lot of jobs for a town of 3500 peo­ple,’’ Mr Ryan said.

He said most peo­ple in the town would know some­one who worked at Unilever, and that the job losses would have a flowon ef­fect on the rest of the town.

‘‘When you take 40 jobs out it hurts the foot­ball club, it hurts the net­ball club, it hurts the lo­cal econ­omy. Some fam­i­lies will pos­si­bly have to shift.’’

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