Abattoir staff struggling
IT has been 18 days since Emily Simpson went to work, which would be fine if she was holidaying, but depressingly it’s the distance since her last pay check.
The 29-year-old is one of more than 130 locals left in limbo, since Leitch Pastoral Group announced a temporary shutdown at Killarney Abattoir on March 8.
Now like many of her workmates she is juggling bills she can’t pay and desperately searching for another job.
Yet she admits she is one of the fortunate few: unlike many of her colleagues from the plant’s administration centre she isn’t struggling to feed kids or pay a mortgage.
“My partner earns just enough to make me ineligible for Centrelink, but not enough for us to cover the costs we had as double income earners,” Ms Simpson explained.
“Right now we have next to no money.
“But the real estate agent we rent through and other people have been very understanding.
“As soon as you mention Killarney Abattoir they know your situation.”
The Warwick woman left a job in the hospitality industry to accept a position at the meatworks in January.
Ironically it was job security, good pay and the lure of weekends off which inspired her career switch.
“I thought finally I’ve got this great fulltime job, with paid holidays, good hours and lots of room to learn,” Ms Simpson said.
“Now I am in limbo. I am spending all my hours searching for another job.”
Her search has so far proved depressingly difficult.
“There aren’t a lot of jobs around Warwick and Stanthorpe,” Ms Simpson said.
“There was one advertised on February 18, I applied on February 19 and got a call the next day to say it had already been filled.
“I’ve applied for 43 jobs since the shutdown; I have even considered commuting to Toowoomba each day.”
When her predicament gets her down she reminds herself there are others in more desperate situations.
“I didn’t mean too, but I cried on the way home from the shutdown meeting,” Ms Simpson said.
“I know things aren’t that bad for me.
“One of the girls I worked with was supporting her whole family; another had just bought her first house and had young kids.
“They have to worry about losing their homes and feeding their kids.
“Being left in limbo like this isn’t right or fair or reasonable.”