Last day done

More than 200 jobs gone as slaugh­ter, bon­ing room close

The Queensland Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emma Clarke emma.clarke@qt.com.au

YES­TER­DAY marked the end of an era for Ip­swich and hun­dreds of work­ers who made a liv­ing in lo­cal abat­toirs.

The last an­i­mals were killed and boned at Churchill Abat­toir on Thurs­day and Fri­day, sig­nalling the fi­nal day at work for more than 200 peo­ple, some of whom have been in the job more than 30 years.

Fur­ther jobs will be lost next year when the case ready, sausage and corn­ing room cease op­er­a­tions per­ma­nently.

FOR some Churchill Abat­toir work­ers, more than 30 years of com­mit­ment came to an end yes­ter­day.

Up to 270 peo­ple left the plant for the last time on Thurs­day and Fri­day when the last an­i­mals were killed, the slaugh­ter room closed and the ‘chiller boys’ fin­ished up in the bon­ing room.

It’s just the start of a rip­ple ef­fect as more than 300 work­ers will be out of a job next year when the case ready, sausage and corn­ing room stop op­er­a­tions.

While work is dry­ing up, it’s only just get­ting started for the unions, gov­ern­ment agen­cies and sup­port ser­vices work­ing around the clock to find roles for dis­placed em­ploy­ees.

Aus­tralasian Meat In­dus­try Em­ploy­ees Union or­gan­iser War­ren Earle said for some of the work­ers, the re­dun­dan­cies marked the end of decades spent in the same job.

He said camaraderie was at an all-time high at the plant this week as em­ploy­ees pre­pared to con­tinue their friend­ships out­side work.

“More than 50% of the work­force has been here for more than 10 years,” he said.

“There is strong camaraderie, they’re all tak­ing self­ies and meet­ing af­ter work for a meal at the pub.

“A lot of the group has worked to­gether for a long time so they will miss that.

“There is still a bit more for us to do in try­ing to get as many into jobs as pos­si­ble and putting pres­sure on the com­pa­nies not giv­ing them a fair chance.”

Blair MP Shayne Neu­mann said there was still time for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to con­sider ex­tra fi­nan­cial sup­port for the im­pacted work­ers.

He said up to $9000 was on of­fer for work­ers who needed to leave Ip­swich to find a job – but they needed to wait a year to get it.

Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives are avail­able to re-lo­cate for work but only for those who have been on un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits like New­start and Youth Al­lowance for more than 12 months.

Mr Neu­mann is push­ing the gov­ern­ment to waive the wait­ing pe­riod for work­ers af­fected by the clo­sure of the abat­toir and Steggles.

“I’m call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to be flex­i­ble, they’ve done it be­fore so I know they can. There are jobs avail­able in other lo­ca­tions but if the gov­ern­ment waives this, they might be in a po­si­tion to take that up.”

PHOTO: INGA WIL­LIAMS

JOBS CRI­SIS: Hun­dreds of Ip­swich meat work­ers are look­ing for a job from this week.

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