Inghams chicken out of Byron Bay
DESPITE assuring no jobs would be lost from its Byron Bay factory in July 2012 after it switched from Sunnybrand Chickens, Inghams has shut up shop, leaving 86 employees affected.
Blaming the aging factory building, Inghams says it's working towards a closure date in late October.
The closure follows a review into northern NSW and Queensland facilities aimed at assessing existing production "to meet increasing customer demand".
Mike Rozen, Inghams' group executive general manager for the region explained:
"The latest review has focused on the Byron Bay production facility's ability to meet this changing demand.
"With this older and less efficient facility currently functioning at its structural limits, it is unable to competitively produce the full range of poultry products increasingly sought by consumers in the Australian marketplace.
"Unfortunately, the closure of the Byron Bay facility has become necessary to keep Inghams competitive and drive efficiencies to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our customers.
"There will be a redirection of production volumes to Inghams' Murarrie facility, our large modern processing plant in Brisbane, which employs more than 1300 employees."
Inghams confirmed 86 employees, including 21 casuals, would be affected in some way.
"Several contract service providers will also be impacted and Inghams will work with them through the closure process," the company said.
"We will be working closely with all employees, and importantly discuss redeployment opportunities and relocation assistance.
"Permanent employees are being notified of, and encouraged to express interest in relocation to alternative sites.
"At this stage, we believe we should be able to accommodate those interested employees who are prepared to transfer to an available opportunity."
Inghams said the closure will happen in two stages, starting with stopping onsite live bird processing and progressing to the continuation of deboning for the Murrarie factory until the closure date.
The company said discussions began on Friday with their employee's union; the Australian Meat Workers Union, contractors and suppliers.