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MG jobs cuts hit

THE SOUTH Gippsland community is likely to be hit hard by the loss of 23 jobs at one of Leongatha’s largest employers, Murray Goulburn.
MG notified staff at the dairy factory last Tuesday (May 27) of the latest round of job cuts that will affect the quality, maintenance and production teams.
MG has removed about 50 jobs at Leongatha in the past two years.
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Peter Watchorn said the job losses would have a broad impact on the community.
“It is not good, but hopefully when things turn around a bit some of those jobs might come back to fruition,” he said.
“Murray Goulburn needs to restructure and these things have to happen sometimes.”
In a bid to “deliver a sustainable increase in its farmgate milk price”, the company will cut a total of 54 jobs across its Victorian facilities.
The other losses included 13 positions at Kiewa, four at Cobram, three at Rochester and 11 at Maffra, while Koroit avoided any losses.
South Gippsland Shire Council mayor Cr Jim Fawcett said any job losses in the community were regretted.
“The losses announced by MG are part of their continuing desire to make their company competitive and sustainable,” he said.
“I am confident that MG will retain a strong manufacturing presence in Leongatha supporting both employees and their supplier owners.”
A Murray Goulburn spokesperson said because every site has different operations and activities, a separate assessment of requirements and efficiencies was made.
“The decision (to cut 23 jobs from Leongatha) was based on business and operating requirements moving forward to maintain and strengthen the viability and global competitiveness of our cooperative,” they said.
“In the last two years at Leongatha, there have been around 50 redundancies prior to Tuesday’s announcement.”
Once the latest round of job redundancies come into effect, the Leongatha facility will employ around 270 personnel.
Leongatha South Murray Goulburn supplier Gordon Vagg said unfortunately the latest job losses were a sign of how the industry was going.
“We have got to compete on an international market, and we have got to keep up with the other companies and countries throughout the world,” he said.
“The other thing that is going against us is that our wages are higher than in New Zealand and the United States, which also makes it more difficult for us.”
In a statement to shareholder suppliers, MG managing director Gary Helou said the cuts were the result of changes within MG’s operational processes and activities.
“The removal of roles is never a decision taken lightly and where possible the company has sought to minimise the impact on our people by looking first to contract and casual positions and then voluntary redundancies for permanent roles,” he said.
“These difficult changes are necessary as it is in the best interest of all our supplier/shareholders, staff, communities, customers and consumers that we are a strong, viable business, able to compete globally and deliver higher farmgate prices.”
All impacted staff will receive full entitlements, be offered counselling and career transitioning services.
The spokesperson told The Star the cooperative would continue to consult with staff on the impact of the job cuts.
“We will consider a range of options to mitigate redundancy, including looking at redeployment and current vacancies,” they said.
“Over the coming weeks and months we will be doing everything we can to support our people during this change.
“We anticipate the timings for implementing the changes will be during July through to September 2014; however some may be deferred to January 2015 due to local operational and seasonal requirements.”
An upgrade to the UHT plant at the Leongatha factory was completed recently, increasing output by around 100 million litres a year.
The company spokesperson said UHT was a growth category for Murray Goulburn and did not rule out further job losses as a result of the upgrade.
“As we introduce new automated technology, in the first instance our aim will be to increase capacity with the same number of people, however we must always remain competitive,” they said.
“Future technology may lead to changes in the way we manufacture any of our products as our business evolves.”

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Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=10986

Posted by on May 29 2014. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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