Ipswich Steggles poultry processing facility at Wulkuraka will close this month.
Ipswich Steggles poultry processing facility at Wulkuraka will close this month. David Nielsen

JOBS CRISIS: 500 roles impacted by chicken plant closure

CLOSE to 500 people will be looking for a new job when the Baiada Steggles chicken processing plant at Wulkuraka closes this month.

The closure will directly impact 250 Steggles employees but more than 25 farmers who supplied chickens to the plant would also be without a contract.

Up to 230 jobs are expected to be impacted by contract terminations which represented 23 million chickens annually or $20 million. 

Australasian Meat Industry Employee' Union organiser Warren Earle said there was hope some of impact Steggles workers could snap up new jobs at meatworks like JBS.

He said the transition would not be as simple for Steggles employees as it was for Churchill Abattoir employees late last year as the plants used different techniques.

"They have similar skill sets so hopefully those skills can be transferred. They know what is required in the food environment," Mr Earle said

"Coles and Woolworths demand high standards of food safety so the Steggles workers already have that knowledge."

He said it was understood some workers were already able to find new jobs but it was unclear how many would be out of work from the end of the month.

In a statement released in August, Baiada managing direction Simon Camilleri said the decision to close the Ipswich processing plant in January had not been easy. 

"The decision to cease processing at the site is one management has tried to avoid," Mr Camilleri said.  

"Market conditions, however, require us to consolidate our national processing operations meaning we can no longer viably operate the Ipswich facility in the medium to long term.   

"We will be working through the process of closure with our employees, unions, growers and other business partners to minimise impacts wherever we can.   

"All employee and contractual obligations will be met and we will work closely with local partners to help staff find new jobs with other employers.   

"We will collaborate with the Queensland Chicken Growers Association to assist growers in finding alternative opportunities where possible.   

"The decision will also impact the Wacol Feedmill which will no longer be required to service the Ipswich facility.

"Our Ipswich site will continue to be important to our business as a key distribution hub for the state of Queensland and will continue to employ 100 staff."