Rohan Webb AMWU at the XXXX strike. Hundreds of community supporters rally with XXXX workers taking strike action out the front of the brewery on Milton Road. Friday May 25, 2018. (AAP image, John Gass)
Rohan Webb AMWU at the XXXX strike. Hundreds of community supporters rally with XXXX workers taking strike action out the front of the brewery on Milton Road. Friday May 25, 2018. (AAP image, John Gass)

Workers unions slam Lactalis factory closure

UNIONS representing 47 redundant Pauls factory workers have lashed out at Lactalis over its plan to shut down its Rockhampton CBD operation.

Representing the workers in charge of production, the Australian Workers' Union has described the decisions by Lactalis to shut down its ­Rockhampton site and cut jobs in South Brisbane as nothing short of disgraceful and a "kick in the teeth for local workers".

AWU Queensland Branch Secretary Steve Baker urged Lactalis to reconsider its decision which had left AWU members angry and upset.

"The decision by Lactalis to cut and run from both their Rockhampton and South Brisbane workforces is a real kick in the teeth for local workers," Mr Baker said.

"I'm feeling for these workers and their families who have been let down by a company who should know better.

Australian Workers Union acting secretary Steve Baker. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Australian Workers Union acting secretary Steve Baker. Photographer: Liam Kidston

"Lactalis's claim that they need to outsource jobs just weeks after taking on a major Government contract defies belief.

"There is simply no excuse for these job losses. Both the Rockhampton and South Brisbane sites were more than capable of continuing to provide high-quality products for Queenslanders.

Mr Baker said his number one priority was supporting affected AWU members who faced losing their livelihood and they have been in constant communication with the State Government and the Department of State Development, who were on the ground supporting workers.

FACTORY LOCATION: The soon to be closed Pauls Factory is located at 239 Alma St in the Rockhampton CBD.
FACTORY LOCATION: The soon to be closed Pauls Factory is located at 239 Alma St in the Rockhampton CBD.

"The workers facing losing their jobs are highly skilled, highly loyal, and deserve better than this," he said.

"AWU organisers have been out on the ground offering support to the Lactalis workforce, and we've made it clear that we're here to help anyone who needs it.

"Our message is simple: we need to keep Queensland jobs in Queensland."

Representing the workers responsibly for the maintenance of the Pauls factory, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union has also slammed Lactalis for its shock revelation.

AMWU state secretary Rohan Webb said the closure of the local facility was a huge blow to the whole Rockhampton community.

Rohan Webb at the May Day March. Pic Annette Dew
Rohan Webb at the May Day March. Pic Annette Dew

"No warning and no consultation. Lactalis should be ashamed of the games they're playing with local workers, their families and the whole Rockhampton community," Mr Webb said.

"Here we go again. This community knows all too well the hardship associated with the closure of major industries and employers.

"A couple of years ago we saw hundreds of job losses at the former Aurizon facility, now Lactalis is the next to bring the axe down on local jobs.

"We know Queensland, particularly regional ­Queensland, needs good, secure jobs. The AMWU is calling on the Government to use all levers available to them to ensure workers impacted by Lactalis' closure are supported, given the best career advice and provided with real pathways to future employment."

The Pauls factory in Rockhampton's CBD.
The Pauls factory in Rockhampton's CBD.

He acknowledged Queensland's dairy industry which had always been a strong employer and through that, a supporter of local families and jobs.

"It's a sad day for those that have just found out they might not have income to pay their mortgage or feed their family," he said.

While the unions were still trying to get full details about closure process and ­redundancies, Mr Webb urged the facility's workers with questions to contact their union.



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