Brazen Orford talks up business

A TOOWOOMBA manufacturer that sacked workers to import Chinese refrigerators has appeared at a national business conference despite still owing more than $2 million in entitlements.

Orford Group director Corby Orford spoke at the Turnaround Conference in Melbourne on Friday as a case study on how to "turnaround" a business.

About 180 Toowoomba-based workers lost their jobs when Orford Refrigeration went into voluntary liquidation in May.

Two weeks later Orford Group had opened a new factory in China.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union national secretary Dave Oliver blasted Ms Orford's decision to pursue her new import business.

"Orford, having driven her company into the ground, failed to properly inform workers and their union about the state of the company," he said.

"She left workers out to dry while protecting her own assets, and then walked away without a backward look to the workers and their entitlements, leaving taxpayers to pick up the pieces.

"She has no right to be sprouting about how she turned around.

"Rather, she turned away her local community and workers and sent those jobs overseas."

Sacked worker Melynda McArthur is still owed $42,000 in entitlements by the company.

She had been told that Orford Group had no money to pay entitlements to its 180 sacked workers and that any payments would have to come from the Federal Government's General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme.

"How do they get away with it?" she asked.

Ms McArthur worked at Orford Refrigeration for almost 10 years, being promoted to production manager from the floor.

"People trusted Corby and she let everyone down. I don't think she should be held up as a success story at conferences like (Friday's)," she said.

The AMWU is continuing efforts to recover entitlements for workers.

The Orford Group was contacted but did not return The Chronicle's calls.

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