TEYS Brothers has taken the butcher’s knife to the Biloela meatworks, cutting the afternoon shift and the jobs of 40 foreign workers.
Tom Maguire, general manager of corporate affairs and innovation for Teys Group, said the company made the decision to reduce the number of beasts processed at Biloela.
The plant closes today for its Christmas break and won’t re-open until the New Year.
After the shut-down the plant will resume operations with a five-day single shift that will process 554 head, and a single boning shift.
“This means the afternoon boning shift will not be required,” Mr Maguire said.
Forty foreign workers, some Korean, holders of working holiday visas, would lose their jobs.
“We expect very little or no change to our existing 350 business long stay visa holders and Australian workforce,” Mr Maguire said.
The business long stay visa holders are mostly Vietnamese.
He said the gloomy outlook was the main reason the shift was being closed.
“We are forecasting a dramatic reduction in available cattle in 2010, similar to the last quarter of this year.
“This has been driven by poor seasons, floods and large numbers of stock that have been live exported from Queensland.
“It is unfortunate that preferential treatment of the live trade by government has created a tilted playing field that favours the live trade at the expense of jobs in towns like Biloela.
“The high Australian dollar and weak demand in our major export markets is also making things difficult,” Mr Maguire admitted.
He said the company expected the conditions to persist into 2011.
“However we are treating the change as temporary and will re-assess if cattle availability improves.
“I would add that Teys is a financially sound company that has taken this decision to ensure long-term sustainability of its Biloela business.”
In October, Teys announced a re-structure at its Beenleigh plant with 80 job losses, and reduced working days at the Biloela and Rockhampton plants.
Back then, the company blamed the global financial crisis and the State Government’s policy favouring live export.