John Dee restructure may see casual staff job cuts
JOHN Dee Abattoir spokesman Warren Stiff has refused to rule out casual job losses after a shift restructure was announced this week and the union meets with management.
Ten-hour days and four-day weeks are also on the cards for permanent workers with 46 night employees set to change to the daytime shift.
A John Dee employee who spoke to the Daily News yesterday was concerned for families who relied on their jobs and shift hours.
"We first found out about the changes on Monday night," the employee said.
"There was a piece of paper pinned to a noticeboard stating new 10-hour days would come into effect in a couple of weeks' time.
"It's not fair on the families who have children and need to pick them up and drop them off at school."
The employee said they felt workers were being left in the dark.
"We haven't been told anything and there are lots of rumours circulating about 40 people losing their job," the employee said.
"I've also heard there is no such thing as night shift anymore which would make it hard for the families where both mum and dad take turns in working shifts."
Bacon Factory Union organiser Darryl Burgess visited the factory yesterday to speak with concerned employees.
"A lot of employees are extremely unhappy with the restructure," he said.
"Families are very annoyed because their livelihood relies on it."
Mr Burgess said permanent workers jobs were safe but he was unsure about the future of casuals.
"There are two types of casual workers," Mr Burgess said. "There are visa casuals and local casuals.
"My aim is to try and secure the jobs of local casual employees first and then the visa casuals."
Mr Burgess said he understood the restructure was a result of a change of orders.
"The Chinese export work requires very little night work," he said.
"By changing the hours the company get also get around paying extra overtime."
Mr Burgess said he could understand the business situation.
"It's a tough market at the moment," he said.
John Dee's Warren Stiff said the restructure was in line within the terms of an enterprise agreement signed three years ago.
"We are reducing the amount of staff on the afternoon boning shift," he said.
"The day shift will be expanding and workers will be completing their 40 hours shift in four days.
"We will not be putting off any permanent employees."
Mr Stiff said international trading was difficult at the moment.
"Meat processing is facing the same problems as other manufacturing industries," he said.
"The Australian dollar is high and there is weakness in the Yen which makes our product expensive to overseas customers."
Mr Stiff said the shift rationalisation would come into effect on March 18.
"We are mindful and understand it changes people's routines," he said.
"But it's about maintaining the overall business in a difficult time."
The Bacon Factory Union will meet with John Dee management today to discuss the workers' situation.
John Dee is the biggest employer in town with over 430 workers.