Workers say they are devastated by news that more than 100 jobs could be lost after Devonport City Abattoir announced plans to close by mid-November.
JBS, which owns Devonport City Abattoir, has operated the abattoir in the state’s north since 2008, and processes most of Tasmania’s pigs, as well as some lambs, sheep and a small number of cattle.
Today, JBS notified the State Government of its plans to walk away by November 15.
The closure comes two years after the Government promised $800,000 in funding to keep the plant open — $400,000 of which has already been spent.
New father Bradley Johnston, who has worked at the facility for more than two years, said the news came completely out of the blue.
“I’m devastated, I just had a kid on Wednesday … so I’ve come back to find out I’ve lost my job,” he said.
“I’ve got nothing to go on to, and I don’t have that much experience out of here.
“I’m ropeable — I’ve got a family to feed.”
Mr Johnston said he would have to begin job hunting immediately and questioned whether the Government could be doing more to protect their jobs.
‘Farmers will feel the impact’
State Growth Minister Peter Gutwein said the announcement was disappointing.
“We have time on our side now to work with the industry to look at what other options may be possible to bring forward another third-party operator,” Mr Gutwein said.
Mr Gutwein said the plant employs 15 full-time staff and up to 90 casual staff.
Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union spokesman Andrew Foden said changes to the plant operator would undoubtedly impact farmers.
He said JBS had offered to move 15 workers to the Longford plant
“That still leaves … [workers] that [could] be out on the street unemployed,” he said.
“It’s disappointing for the farmer, for one, it’s disappointing for workers in Tasmania when big industries like this are slowly closing down.
“Letting live animals leave this state to me is a shame when we can process them here.”
The ABC has contacted JBS for comment.