JOBS CRISIS: Why Ipswich workers fear for their future
AN ABATTOIR worker has revealed the hundreds of employees who will lose their jobs when the business closes next month are terrified to speak out.
The long-term employee, who asked not to be named for fear of losing his entitlements, said the entire workforce was stunned when the announcement was made at a mass meeting on Monday.
The employee, the sole breadwinner for his family of four, now faces losing his home after about 20 years of working at the abattoir, unless he can find a new job.
"When I went home and told my wife, the first thing she said was, 'We're screwed. How will we pay the mortgage?'," he said.
His children are young adults but still live at home and are partially financially dependent on him and his wife, who works about 30 hours a week.
If he can't secure another job within the month after the last day of operation on September 28, losing the house is a possibility which would leave him, his wife and children homeless.
"My wife and I are trying to work out a budget," the employee said.
"She is trying to be supportive and hopefully I will be right for about a month while I try to find another job outside the meat industry.
"If that doesn't work, I will try to apply at other abattoirs.
"It's tough for us but there are people worse off than me. Some of the younger guys have come here straight out of school and they don't have any formal qualifications. It will be hardest for them."
The employee said a lot of the blame for the closure had been placed on the abattoir owners which he said was unfair.
"It's not fair to just blame the abattoir owners, there are other circumstances at play. I've enjoyed working here," the employee said.
At Churchill, the abattoir and boning room will close next month but one part of the operation, the case ready room, will remain open until July.
Churchill Abattoir hopes to re-open as an export plant, a plan owners have been working towards but without interest from investors.