Thomas Foods quiet on Tamworth plans

FAIR GO: AMIEU's Grant Courtney, pictured here during a visit to Tamworth to support a local meat workers' protest in mid-2016, has repeated his call for local hires. Photo: Gareth Gardner 070616GGB04
FAIR GO: AMIEU's Grant Courtney, pictured here during a visit to Tamworth to support a local meat workers' protest in mid-2016, has repeated his call for local hires. Photo: Gareth Gardner 070616GGB04

WORK continues to support displaced abattoir workers in Murray Bridge, SA, but there are still no updates on the implications for Tamworth.

Two weeks after a fire in the Thomas Foods International processing facility in that state, there have been no further details from the company on any plans to redeploy staff to, or hire new workers in, Tamworth.

Meanwhile, a union official has reiterated his call for TFI in Tamworth to give locals a go.

A media spokeswoman said on January 11 that new positions in Tamworth were “being made available to Murray Bridge workers as well as Tamworth local residents”.

This came after permanent staff were placed on two weeks’ paid leave and those on 417 working holiday visas were let go.

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU) Newcastle and northern branch secretary Grant Courtney said today he had “no information at this stage in relation to whether there are going to be any movements or not”.

However, he praised the efforts of the Murray Bridge, the wider South Australian community and the union’s local branch to support the TFI staff there.

This has included a barbecue and a prayer service.

Mr Courtney said he wanted to see locals hired “as opposed to the continuing reliance on temporary migrant workers”.

“I just want to re-emphasise the fact that youth unemployment in Tamworth is very high – some of the highest in the country – and large companies like Thomas Foods should be looking at teaching, training and providing career-path opportunities in the meat industry for local youth,” Mr Courtney said.

TFI chief executive Darren Thomas announced on Thursday that production and staffing would increase at its Tamworth and Lobethal, SA, sites.

The Leader has sought more details from TFI, but was told this afternoon the company had no further updates.

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