Hundreds of Ipswich workers prepare for last day on the job
LESS than a week until the last cattle are slaughtered and boned at Churchill Abattoir, unions and support services are doing all they can to limit the impact of mass job losses in Ipswich.
Hundreds of people will be without a job from Friday following a shock announcement to workers in August.
Local, State and Federal Governments have combined forces with unions, companies and support services to help the impacted workers back into new jobs as quickly as possible.
Interstate companies have also answered the call to action, with some meatworks offering re-location incentives to impacted Ipswich workers.
Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union organiser Warren Earle said the last day of slaughter would be on September 28 and those animals would be boned the following day before that part of the abattoir closed. He said up to about 250 people would be out of work by Friday and another 300 would lose their jobs when the Woolworths-managed sausage room, packaging room and corning room stopped operations next year.
Up to 400 people are expected to lose their jobs when Steggles chicken processing facility at Wulkuraka stops operations next year.
Mr Earle said the Ipswich community, interstate companies, councils and government had banded together to show their support for the impacted workers and help them into new jobs.
"It was like being hit with a big sledge hammer but we are working together to try and get people into jobs and find work where we can," he said.
"We've all been working well together and we are on the same mission.
"There are more impacts than on these people and these families. They spend their money, they don't just tuck it away so there are impacts on business and the economy.
"There are a lot of government services in place like Centrelink, superannuation services, councillors and resume and re-training support to help these people back into a job."
Mr Earle said it would be a long and difficult battle to find jobs for hundreds of employees but work was already well under way to limit the impact.
"Some of the workers had been there for 20 to 30 years so it can be a very nervous and anxious time for them when they are forced into a new workforce. They were comfortable in those surroundings and now they are being forced to change," he said.
Mr Earle said paying union members were not expected to pay their fees while they were impacted by the job losses but all affected workers would be offered the same support and assistance services.