Abattoir owner Stuart Ramsey.
Abattoir owner Stuart Ramsey.

Workers on the chopping block

THE company in control of the South Grafton abattoir has blamed "certain government departments" for the closure of the plant scheduled for November 14.

Ramsey Group made the official announcement yesterday, saying it would transfer abattoir operations to the Northern Co-operative Meat Company (NCMC) at Casino.

"All permanent long-term employees shall be offered employment at the Northern Co-operative Meat Company Casino, subject to the normal application being made and health checks being completed," the statement said.

Frank Hannigan, solicitor for the Ramsey Group of companies, said the move from Grafton was regretted and was not the preferred option by the Ramsey Group.

"It appeared inevitable certain government departments were single-minded in their efforts to achieve the closing of the abattoir business at Grafton," Mr Hannigan said.

NCMC chairman George Bennett said the co-operative was looking forward to the return of the Ramsey meat-processing business.

"They will bring the additional veal volumes the co-operative vitally needs, and while the move may be difficult for the community of Grafton, it will certainly bring a degree of stability to NCMC's business, its suppliers' businesses and a degree of security for the business community of Casino."

Workers who are worried about getting their entitlements, were told of the closure by abattoir owner Stuart Ramsey.

This follows a Federal Court judgment on Wednesday which found that Ramsey had engaged in deceitful conduct when the abattoir sacked 11 workers without paying their entitlements just before Christmas 2008.

Last week Ramsey Food Processing was found guilty of contempt in the NSW Land and Environment Court after it failed to carry out an environmental audit of the South Grafton site and failed to place notices in newspapers to notify the public.



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