Abattoir: Drop 457 visas hire axed Aussie locals 

The meat workers union has called on Teys Wagga to replace its foreign workforce with 180 axed abattoir staff from Cootamundra. 
It comes after Cootamundra’s largest employer, Manildra Meat Company, announced late last week 150 permanent staff and 70 casual staff will be laid off when the processing plant closes on Friday. 
The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union’s (AMIEU) state industrial organiser Mark Perkins arrived in Cootamundra on Monday after hearing about the closure from affected staff.
“Some of the abattoirs within two hours drive of Cootamundra still use 457 visa workers; Teys Wagga especially,” Mr Perkins said
“I would hope they drop their foreign workers and employ locals; they should be able to take all Manildra production workers.”
Mr Perkins said the axed staff were “devastated” as most had “houses and families in Cootamundra” and “the vast majority of them will have to leave town to find work”.
Mr Perkins praised Manildra Meat Company for voluntarily paying out personal leave as part of redundancy packages, as well as committing to pay long service and annual leave. 
Teys spokesman Tom Maguire said the union had wildly inflated its estimation of the company’s 457 visa workforce.
“Teys Wagga has substantially fewer than 180 457 visa workers,” Mr Maguire said.
“There is a large number of Australian residents from overseas working at the abattoir, but they’re not on visas.
“There isn’t room in our local workforce for the Manildra staff.
“While there’s no chance Teys Wagga will close, we’re struggling to get five days work for our current staff.”
Manildra general manager Jason Graham reaffirmed his intention to re-open the plant if livestock prices drop, but could not predict when that would be.
Workers in limbo don’t know whether to stay in Cootamundra and live on savings in the hope of getting their jobs back or move town or state in search of work. 
“We are offering onsite non-government and government services including counselling, resume drafting, interviewing skills, job searching and financial services,” Mr Graham said. 
“Manildra Meat Company’s main concern is the welfare and future employment opportunities for workers that have been affected by the announcement of this closure.”
Source: http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/4480695/union-to-abattoir-drop-457-workers/

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