WORKERS at the Girgarre Heinz factory were sombre but philosophical on their final day of work yesterday.The factory ceased production with the last of the 146 workers clocking off at 7am today. Heinz is moving its tomato sauce plant to New Zealand and worker Ken Covington said the final shift was “more like a funeral”.“It was pretty sombre, it just felt like a chore going in for the last time,” he said.Mr Covington spent 12 years working at the plant.“My wife and I used to have cows on a farm in Girgarre but with the drought we both moved to work at the factory,” he said.“After yesterday we’re both unemployed, and so is our son-in-law who worked there.”Chris Lloyd, who has worked at the factory for 18 years, said it was a difficult period of transition.“We have known for quite a while the plant was going to shut but it’s hard to move on,” he said. “The training period workers had just wasn’t enough time to get qualified for another job.”Australian Manufacturing Workers Union local organiser Jason Hefford said 17 people would stay on for another week cleaning out the site, but most were still looking for jobs.“A few have moved on to different factories, others have found casual employment but of course it’s not the same as having a secure job,” he said.Mr Hefford said the retraining services offered to workers by Heinz were minimal.“They could have done a lot more,” he said. “They chose to just fulfil their enterprise agreement. Even with the scholarships they gave out, a lot of that was funded by the government.”Heinz Australia’s supply chain director Mike Robinson said the company was doing all it could to work through redundancy packages.“Our primary focus over the coming weeks and months will be to support our employees during a difficult time,” Mr Robinson said.Mr Covington said his focus, and that of many other workers, had now turned to the local Goulburn Valley Food Co-operative.“When one door shuts another one opens,” he said. “We’re hoping the co-op can take over the site and keep jobs and profits in the local community.”Mr Hefford said the union was also hopeful of the plan.“We’re hopeful that something will get up,” he said. “It’ll depend on how much equipment is left.“If Heinz just leave a shell of a factory, what is it worth really?“My understanding is that Heinz is going to take all the equipment.”The company announced the closure in May last year, saying the cost of making the plant competitive in the price-driven grocery market was becoming too high.