Don KRC - 19 August 2008

19 August 2008


Closure of Don’s plants
On 30th July Mel Sutton, the Divisional Chief Executive of Don KRC, announced that Don KRC would be closing its Spearwood (W.A) and Nth Altona (Vic) sites. 

Mr. Sutton expected that the Spearwood site would be closed by April 2009 and its production moved to Castlemaine. About 220 workers would be sacked in the process. 

Don North Altona
The Nth Altona site, the Don plant, is to have its production moved to Castlemaine gradually.  Mr. Sutton expected that Don would close finally in September 2010. 

The 420 redundancies at Don would not commence before Christmas 2008, and the Company was unable to say how and when the redundancies would take place between January 2009 and September 2010.

Castlemaine Extensions
Mr. Sutton has said that extensions are required to Plant 2 at Castlemaine and drawings for this are currently being finalised.  There has been no indication as to when the building will commence.

Uncertainty on New Jobs
Don KRC management has also told the AMIEU that at this stage it is unable to give any indication of the number of new ongoing jobs that this may create in Castlemaine. Management has said that it does understand that there is currently difficulty in retaining workers at Castlemaine.

New Don Agreement
The Don Agreement runs out in November 2008.  Negotiations for a new agreement commence on August 18. The Don workers have resolved to seek a wage increase and an improved redundancy package.

Single Plant for George Weston Foods
The decision of Don KRC to close Spearwood and Nth Altona and move all its operations to

Castlemaine means that George Weston Foods will have only one smallgoods manufacturing site in Australia.  This plant will produce their entire range of products, including Don, KRCastlemaine, Watsonia, Chapmans, Huttons, Melosi and Otto Wurth. 

Workers at Castlemaine will therefore be part of the biggest smallgoods manufacturing plant in Australia.  You should be in a position to share in all the benefits that will flow from this.

What effect will the Don closure have on the Castlemaine site and its employees?
The transfer of work from the Don’s operation at Altona to the Castlemaine plant over the next two years, along with upgrading of equipment and facilities, should ensure the future of the company’s operation at Castlemaine. 

The transfer of work is not expected to start before January of next year.

Enterprise bargaining negotiations
The company has informed the Union that by the end of August, the management team at DonKRC will be in place, budgets will be finalised and dates will be arranged for discussions to proceed.

Skills Matrix
A skills matrix has been discussed between the working party, the union and the Company over a number of months and is close to completion.  It will be part of the EBA. This document will set out levels; skill sets required and what tasks fit within each level; career progression paths; and training and assessment methods.

Wages and Conditions
The union will be seeking through those negotiations a proper set of wages and conditions to cover employees at Castlemaine.

One of the problems at Castlemaine is retention of workers, and the main reason continually raised with the union is the poor wages and conditions.


Strong union membership is the way to ensure you receive proper wages and conditions at your plant.

Some of the services offered by the union include:

  • Negotiating wages and conditions.
  • Representation in WorkCover disputes.
  • Assistance and representation in unfair dismissals.
  • Assistance and representation in occupational health and safety issues.
  • A free will referral service.
  • Legal assistance where necessary, and other matters relating to your employment.

Union membership is the cheapest insurance you will get, and the cost of your ticket is tax deductible.

Membership forms can be obtained from your delegates:
Kevin Earle – Wattle Flat day shift
Tania Newsome – Wattle Flat day shift
Karyn Gartside – Wattle Flat afternoon shift
Or by contacting your union organiser Jim Brittain on 0417 590889.

Union fees are paid by direct debit from your bank account. 
The company does not deduct your union dues.

Jim Brittain
Area Organiser