Firm hits out at closure rumour
ONE of Warwick’s largest employers has quashed a rumour it plans to leave town.
Integria Healthcare, whose Warwick operation was previously known as MediHerb, has been the subject of recent widespread speculation about its future and the security of up to 75 jobs.
It had been strongly hinted the Warwick operation would be shifted to Integria’s base at Ballina on the New South Wales north coast, a story the company has labelled as totally unfounded.
But the news is not all good, with several customer service staff understood to soon be jobless after a planned centralisation of their roles in Brisbane.
Integria managing director Johan du Toit has assured the Daily News the company will stay in town and is applying for council approval to improve its McEvoy Street site in the industrial estate.
The rumoured closure coincides with continued uncertainty for workers at the Killarney Abattoir, who remain in limbo after a stand-down was extended indefinitely on Friday.
Speaking from Sydney yesterday, Mr du Toit said he was “surprised and disappointed” to hear of the rumour, calling it “unfounded and irresponsible”.
“We are committed to Warwick and we have just employed a new production manager, Craig Beardmore, who has recently relocated to Warwick,” Mr du Toit said.
“Our board meets next Thursday in Brisbane to discuss the capital costs associated with the improvements, which include a new bulk liquids store.
“Our site in Warwick has increased production over the last year, taking over manufacture of products from our Toowoomba site when we consolidated processing.”
MediHerb, which manufactured herbal extracts for health care professionals in Australia and overseas, was taken over by Kiwi pharmaceutical giant The Thompson Group in March 2008.
The Thompson Group changed its name to Integria Healthcare last May and has a national workforce of 350.
Mr du Toit was unable to comment in detail on staff changes in Warwick but said about “five or six” staff were employed in customer service roles and could be relocated to Brisbane or into other jobs in the company.
But he conceded several could opt against relocating and could leave the firm.
“That is operational detail which is largely irrelevant and movement of staff in a major organisation is hardly unusual,” Mr du Toit said.
He said the need for a new bulk liquids storage facility was an opportunity to make other “process improvements” at McEvoy Street but declined to go into details.