Eighty-six people will find themselves out of work when Inghams Byron Bay closes its doors in late October, further reducing employment opportunities in the region.
The chicken factory had been operating the Byron Bay processing plant since it acquired the assets of Sunnybrand Chickens on April 30, 2011.
A media release from the company said that they have recently completed a review of their facilities in Queensland and northern NSW, with a focus on assessing existing production facilities to meet increasing customer demand for a wide range of fresh pre-prepared or ‘value added’ poultry products.
Mike Rozen, Inghams’ group executive general manager, says the latest review has focused on the Byron Bay production facility’s ability to meet this changing demand.
‘With this older and less efficient facility currently functioning at its structural limits, it is unable to competitively produce the full range of poultry products increasingly sought by consumers in the Australian marketplace.’
Mr Rozen said that Inghams is currently assessing its options in relation to the Byron Bay property and will review remediation requirements in the lead up to the October 2014 closure. ‘We will continue to maintain the safety of the site and all environmental requirements.’
The site closure will occur in two main stages.
In stage one, onsite live bird processing will cease. Stage two will see the site continue to debone birds supplied from the Murarrie processing plant until closure, allowing ‘a smooth redirection of production volumes’.
A total of 86 employees, including 21 casuals, located at the Byron Bay processing plant will be affected. Several contract service providers will also be impacted and Inghams say they ‘will work with them through the closure process’.
Mr Rozen says permanent employees are being notified of, and encouraged to express interest in, opportunities to relocate to alternative sites.
‘At this stage, we believe we should be able to accommodate those interested employees who are prepared to transfer to an available opportunity’, he said.
In related news, NSW Fair Trading has announced it will ‘work to enhance consumer confidence and certainty around egg labelling, including the development of a draft National Information Standard on free range eggs’.