Workers at a Sydney nappy factory say they are “devastated” after management refused at a meeting today to answer questions about why the mill is closing.
- Huggies factory workers, management and CFMEU representatives met in Sydney today but without resolution
- Some employees have worked at the site for 33 years and say they’re worried about paying the bills
- The CFMEU has not ruled out industrial action and will meet workers again next week
The factory, which manufactures Huggies nappies and is in Ingleburn in Sydney’s south-west, will close its doors at the end of July, resulting in the loss of up to 220 jobs.
Workers, union delegates and factory management met at the mill today to discuss the decision to move the mill’s production to Asia.
But workers said their questions to management went unanswered.
Glenyce Kerrigan, who has worked at the factory for 33 years, described the staff as “one big family”.
“It’s devastating,” Ms Kerrigan said.
“I had my daughter in absolute tears and my wife is devastated.
“It’s going to be really hard to put food on the table and cover the bills.”
The factory’s parent company, Kimberly-Clark Australia, said the closure was part of its global restructuring program.
‘We care about Australian mums’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the affected workers should have confidence “opportunities will be there into the future”.
“In a big city like Sydney, what we see is people are able to weather the disappointment and the impact that I know this can have on individuals when there are changes in these businesses,” he said.
But Ms Kerrigan said overseas production could jeopardise the quality of the nappies.
“It’s an Australian product for Australian mums,” she said.
“This is what we have been pushing for all these years — manufacturing in Australia.
“This is why we have such dedicated workers here because we do care about this product and we care about Australian mums.”
Kimberly-Clark Australia declined a request for comment today but in a statement last night said it was “focused on the wellbeing of employees and their families, and providing them with the support they need”.
It said it remained committed to providing consumers in Australia and New Zealand with the highest-quality products.
The Ingleburn mill has been operating since 1988 and a new $28-million production line was opened in 2013.
Michael Aird, NSW secretary of the CFMEU manufacturing union, said the meeting was “devastating” and called on the Federal Government to intervene.
“They’ve refused to discuss with workplace representatives and leaders representing 220 workers about why they are losing their jobs,” Mr Aird said.
“They will not even tell us why they are closing this site down.
“Huggies nappies needs to be made in Australia by the dedicated workers who have made it for decades.”
The CFMEU has not ruled out industrial action and said it would meet workers again next week.
Topics: work, manufacturing, unions, ingleburn-2565
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