ALMOST 200 local abattoir memories have been made redundant after being shelved on indefinite shutdown since March.
JBS – the Brazilian-based largest red meat processor in the world – first shut down its Cobram works in March because of soaring livestock prices.
That four-week hiatus was extended in April and after Easter staff were told the shutdown was indefinite, with September a possible resumption.
But the 195-strong workforce was called in by email this week and told they were all redundant.
A longtime worker at the plant said “it’s been four weeks, four weeks, six months – and now this”.
“They had to make a decision by October 23,” he said.
“They said they were doing us a favour by telling us five weeks early.”
JBS Southern chief operating officer Sam McConnell told ABC radio a decision on the future of both plants would be made when lamb numbers improve.
“At some stage we want to re-open the plants, when the livestock availability is there,” he said.
“The assets are worth a lot of money, you can’t just close and mothball.”
Mr McConnell said the Cobram site would need up to 500 head a day, which includes mutton, goats and lamb.
More details to come.