Abattoir workers stood down

MORE than 240 devastated meatworkers are today agonising over their future after being stood down from the Leitch Pastoral Group-owned Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs.

The group announced yesterday they would "suspend kills" at the two meatworks as well as operations at their wholesale and feedlot arm Condamine River Meats (CRM).

Leitch Pastoral Group operations manager Rob Doro spoke exclusively to the Warwick Daily News and said kills would be suspended and the workforce stood down for this week.

"We do expect Leitch Pastoral to be in a position to make a statement about the future of the group by Friday," he said.

"But the abattoirs have not closed and we have not sacked anyone.

"Employees at the Killarney and Pittsworth plants have been stood down effectively from the close of kill on Monday."

Mr Doro said the action was a result of the current economic climate.

"The meat industry is a difficult environment at the best of times and this has been a particularly tough period," he said.

The announcement comes two months after Leitch Pastoral Group owner Dudley Leitch reassured workers the abattoir was not in financial trouble after rumours began circulating when a clearing sale was advertised and the Hancock family severed ties with the meatworks.

"There is no suggestion whatsoever that we’re slowing down," Mr Leitch told the Daily News in December.

"To prove that we are going forward, we are doing a number of things ... we’ve entered into forward contracts, are entering into negotiations with the union, renovating the waste-water ponds and I’m going to a forum with the (Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation) with regards to the compost material."

Grab tomorrow's copy of the Daily News for the full story, including reactions from locals.

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