The workers were informed earlier this week by management, who cited “ongoing supply challenges” as the reason for the lay-offs.
The plant had been temporarily closed in April, causing 86 lay-offs, due to a lack of sheep and mutton supply. However, the closure was extended, with the 40 lay-offs announced when the situation didn’t improve.
Jeremy Rockliff, minister for primary industries and water in Tasmania, labelled the lay-offs as “disappointing” and said government would be working with those affected to help them to find new employment.
Drought a factor
“Jobs are our number one priority and with the broader unemployment rate declining, we will leave no stone unturned to support those affected into new jobs,” he said. “Tasmania has a strong livestock sector worth US$400m and I understand this company decision is based on a number of factors, including the previous drought that impacted on lamb numbers and reduced supply.
“The government’s Skills Response Unit is in place and working closely with affected staff, as it has done since April. The unit is in the area today and speaking to other potential local employers about possible work opportunities for those affected, including in the wider agricultural sector.”
A JBS Australia spokesman said: “This decision hasn’t been taken lightly. Conditions haven’t improved [since April]. This is an ongoing supply challenge. It’s no different to what is happening on the mainland.