Don factory to shed jobs

DON-KR Castlemaine says it will make 21 staff members redundant, despite plans to hire 30 foreign workers in the Christmas period.

In a statement released by the company, it said it was restructuring to ensure the long-term viability of the factory.

"The individuals involved in the restructure work in either administration or management roles that support the Castlemaine factory and are not directly linked to processing roles in the factory," the statement said.

"The changes will likely result in 21 staff being provided with generous redundancy packages and an additional 10 people redeployed into new roles within the business.

"Affected employees will also receive outplacement care, including access to career transition services and an employee assistance program, in addition to the redundancy packages."

Regarding the foreign workers, the company said it would hire 100 casual employees for six to eight weeks throughout the pre-Christmas period.

It said 30 of the workers would be from oversees, working under the 417 Working Holiday Visa for people aged 18 to 30.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, whose electorate includes Castlemaine, said she was disappointed by the company's announcement.

"It's very disappointing that Don-KR has taken this step," she said.

"The unemployment rate in the region is at seven per cent and the youth unemployment rate is close to 20 per cent.

(To have) job losses at this time is extremely disappointing.

Maree Edwards

"(To have) job losses at this time is extremely disappointing."

Ms Edwards was critical of the company's decision to hire 30 foreign casual workers for six to eight weeks during the pre-Christmas period.

"Don-KR has never had any problem in the past with finding a local, casual workforce to fill the vacancies they have at the Christmas period," she said.

She said she would continue to work with Don-KR, as she had for the past three years.

The Castlemaine factory currently has 1200 employees.

A Don-KR Castlemaine employee told the Bendigo Advertiser on Friday that workers were told the company could not find enough workers to fill the casual Christmas 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 the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union is planning to visit the factory.


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