Tabro workers very angry

Tabro Meats is owned by the huge China-based firm, the Foresun Group and employs 220 meat workers and staff at Tabro Meat’s Lance Creek abattoir, and 120 at the firm’s Moe processing plant. Neither has operated since before Christmas. After several projected opening dates, the AMIEU called a meeting of workers at Lance Creek on 22 January when CEO, Jacky Jiang said “we will start back on Wednesday, February 3”. They did not open then. Currently they are saying March but no exact date.

The Tabro plants have not operated since December 22, with fears they will not restart today, as promised.

It comes as several Victorian livestock agencies are also “seething” the company is yet to pay “hundreds of thousands” of dollars for livestock, despite promising payment this week.

A fortnight ago Tabro Meat chief executive Jacky Yan Jiang told The Weekly Times in a written statement outstanding payments would be made by this week and production would restart on 3 February 2016.

Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union Victorian branch secretary Paul Conway said workers had not been ­ notified work would resume.

“It is not going to happen this week, as far as we can tell,” Mr Conway said.

“This uncertainty at both the Lance Creek (near Wonthaggi) and Moe plants, stringing workers along, is having a huge impact on hundreds of workers and their families ... they are getting desperate.

“One worker told me he had just paid his car regis­tration and if he had known work wouldn’t resume, as he had been told it would, he would instead have spent that money on food.

“As it is he has $20 in his pocket, he is desperate.”

Mr Conway said there was a “genuine fear” among workers the company would “destroy” the local workforce and then “bring in people on visas to take the jobs”.

“That’s my concern, people can’t just wait for months without a job and put up with this uncertainty, they’re going to have to move and look for work,” he said.

“I’ll be very annoyed if that happens and then they (Tabro) say they can’t get workers and then try to bring in a heap of workers on visas.”

Stock agents still owed money said they had little faith in the company.

“We’re seething, this is not the way business is done,” one agent, who did not wish to be named, said.

“We are being sold false hope about how good foreign investment is going to be for agriculture.”