Global food giant Heinz sheds more than 300 jobs in Australia

17:08, May 27, 2011      

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Global food giant Heinz announced on Friday it would shed more than 300 jobs across three factories in Australia as part of the company's restructure.

Heinz will shift its production of sauces, beetroot and some meals products from Australia to its facilities in Hastings, New Zealand, it said in a statement.

The decision will result in the loss of 160 jobs at Golden Circle's Northgate plant in Queensland's capital city Brisbane, 146 jobs at Girgarre in northern Victoria and another 38 jobs at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Heinz Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nigel Comer said the decision was made after an extensive review of the company's manufacturing operations.

"Our decision to consolidate manufacturing is a crucial step in our plan to become more competitive in a challenging environment, and to accelerate future growth in both markets," Comer said.

Comer told reporters in Brisbane that it was a difficult decision and cost was not the only factor.

Australia's peak horticulture organization Growcom called the decision a "devastating blow" for growers.

"Clearly, this is a business decision which Golden Circle has had to make, the same as a grower would on their farm, but it will be sad to see the end of beetroot production in Queensland," Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said.

Heinz has assured growers it will process the beetroot from the current growing season, which is due to end in November.

Meanwhile, the Australian peak body for vegetable and potato growers, Ausveg, also expressed disappointment at the decision.

Ausveg Chairman John Brent called it a massive blow for the vegetable growers who supply the cannery.

"It's a big blow for the industry and it represents an ongoing threat to our national food security that we need to take seriously from a national supply perspective," Brent said.

Source: Xinhua
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