BIG family-owned red meat processor Thomas Foods International has started redeploying abattoir staff impacted by a devastating fire at its Murray Bridge, South Australia, plant at the start of January.
In a statement just released, the company said as part of the initial tranches of positions, 340 Murray Bridge employees have now started work at TFI’s Lobethal meat processing facility and TFI was currently in the process of making another 70 positions available there in the short term.
“We are also in the process of creating approximately 150 new positions at our Tamworth facility for our employees, effective immediately. This is in addition to the current recruiting campaign we have in place in Tamworth for local residents seeking to join our company,” chief executive officer Darren Thomas said.
More than 90 staff remain employed at Murray Bridge working in specialist areas within operations unaffected by the fire.
“Our company and people have been truly tested these past weeks but we are a resilient and determined team. There are no easy solutions in a difficult situation such as this. To find new positions for the majority of our 900-strong permanent workforce so soon after the fire is testament to the outstanding efforts of everyone involved,” Mr Thomas said.
“This shows what can be achieved when industry, government and communities work together for a common goal.
“We have met with our insurers and we are now in the initial stages of planning for a rebuild of our Murray Bridge operations. We are committed to Murray Bridge and while it is too early to provide further detail on what may be required, the rebuild process could take between 12-24 months.”
Demolition work on site has already begun.
In the meantime, production levels at our other processing plants will increase significantly – doubling in Lobethal and by more than 20pc in Tamworth – as TFI continues to manage its customer requirements.
”We can’t say for certain how many staff will eventually take up new positions with the company but from our discussions with various organisations, we’re confident that there are employment opportunities for workers – whether with us or with other local businesses that have pledged their support to offer jobs,” Mr Thomas said.
“Ultimately it’s about maximising the employment opportunities for everyone affected by the Murray Bridge fire and working together as an industry and community at this challenging time. As a company we remain fully committed to a positive future.”