Iconic meat company Don Smallgoods will shut factories at Altona in Victoria and Spearwood in Western Australia in a bid to stem losses and consolidate the company’s operations.
Don Smallgoods was acquired last year by British food giant George Weston Foods, which also took over smallgoods company KR Castlemaine in April this year.
New company Don KR Castlemaine’s chief executive, Mal Sutton, said Don has lost more than $80 million over the past nine years and the current merged business model was also losing money.
The two factories will close over the next two years and the Don Smallgoods operations will be moved to the KR Castlemaine factory in Central Victoria.
“The Castlemaine site was chosen because it is the newest facility with the greatest scope for expansion,” Sutton said.
“Once it is complete it will provide a state-of-the-art manufacturing centre and secure the future of our business and iconic brands.”
The Meatworkers’ Union is angry that the company did not warn workers that the closure was imminent and will seek assistance from federal and state governments to ensure entitlements are paid.
But some workers were philosophical about the decision. “If you are going to lose your job then I suppose this is the best time to do it. I’ll just probably go to the mine or something like that I suppose,” one worker told the ABC.
The Altona factory currently employs 420 people, while 220 work at Spearwood. Redundancies will being in January.