Sacked workers hopeful of good news from abattoir boss
THREE years have passed since the Churchill Abattoir was shut down, but a core group of former employees haven’t lost hope that things might turn around.
The tight knit former workmates were back out at the site on Thursday, ever hopeful of some good news on the horizon for what was once one of the city’s major employers.
Rodney Smith, a former brisket saw operator who started at the abattoir as a teenager and remained there for 40 years, said he would go back and work there tomorrow if he could.
“I’ve got a mowing business now but I would love to see this place up and running again,” he said.
“I came here as a 14-year-old kid because this is where the work was in Ipswich.
“It was a good place to work, we had good stability and it was like a family.”
Following the announcement of the loss of 600 jobs at JBS Dinmore last month, Churchill Abattoir managing director Barry Moule emerged with a proposal to create just as many jobs within his business.
Although not operating as a meat processor in the past three years, the facility has remained open and retained its licence.
A wholesaler has used one of the boning rooms at Churchill since the 2017 abattoir shutdown.
Mr Moule said the company was in discussions with the State Government for assistance to get it restarted.
A timeline of 4-6 months has been set.
It is understood Ipswich West MP Jim Madden has lobbied the State Government on behalf of the Ipswich business.
Churchill Abattoir facilities manager Pedro Cowley said a reopening could support 120 jobs initially, but ultimately could create up to 600.
He said Ipswich people were crying out for work.
“Just this morning I had four or five blokes show up from Dinmore looking for work here, because they thought we might be hiring already,” he said.
“A lot of the people who lost jobs at Churchill ended up at Dinmore.”