Foreign workers to top up KRC workforce

DON-KR Castlemaine has confirmed it will employ 30 foreign workers to top up its workforce in the pre-Christmas period.

The workers will be employed for six to eight weeks under the 417 Working Holiday Visa scheme and perform general production line duties at the Castlemaine site.

In a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser, Don-KR Castlemaine said it was a "typical process" that reflected wider practice in the Australian food and manufacturing industries.

"To help meet occasional increased demand for casual labour, particularly around busy seasonal periods like Christmas, the business works with an accredited labour hire agency to fulfill resourcing needs in order to deliver on consumer demand," the statement said.

"The labour hire agency has in place their own Enterprise Bargaining Agreements and workers will be paid at Award Rates, or better.

"The agency has also managed the process of finding suitable local accommodation for all individuals."

Management has held meetings with staff at Castlemaine throughout the week.

The 30 workers will be among 100 workers hired during the period.

The Castlemaine factory currently has 1200 employees.

A KR Castlemaine employee told the Bendigo Advertiser that workers were told the company could not find enough workers to fill the roles.

"We were told last week that it was too expensive to keep hiring casual workers," the employee said.

"Now this week they have changed track, and have said they can't find anyone to fill the positions.

"I think it's disgusting, there are people in Maryborough, Ballarat, Kyneton and other places who would gladly accept these jobs."

The Bendigo Advertiser understands KR Castlemaine's parent company George Weston Foods has engaged AWX labour hire to supply the workers.

The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union planned to visit the site next week.

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