Goodman Fielder slashes jobs to address rising costs


More than 500 Goodman Fielder employees across Australia will be out of work as the company restructures the business to reduce costs.

'It is expected that 115 roles will be removed from the baking division as a result of the consolidation of the three bakery facilities,' Goodman Fielder said in a statement.

'This brings the total number of roles removed across the company to 541 this financial year.'

More than 30 redundancies will impact those employed in central and far north Queensland.

The job losses are the result of difficult trading conditions, according to spokesperson Martin Cole.

Goodman Fielder’s Rockhampton bakery will be close in July, with the one located in Cairns to follow early next year.

"In total it's around 35 positions will be made redundant across those two facilities but we will be expanding the Townsville facility, we'll be offering redeployment opportunities where that's available to our employees," Cole said.

"It's really in response to what are continued difficult trading conditions and we need to make sure we can improve our manufacturing efficiency and that's why we've made this decision."

Goodman Fielder said on Monday that its Townsville bakery would be upgraded to service customers in the north Queensland region.

The bakery at Whiteside in Melbourne would be closed in 2013.

Goodman Fielder is also simplifying its bakery range to improve efficiency, on-shelf availability and already will reduce the current range of 450 products to about 350.

Late last year, Goodman Fielder was considering abolishing daily bread deliveries to save money, blaming the supermarket price wars.

Transportation of the food products accounts for 40 per cent of the company’s spending, but a spokesperson told Food Magazine that it decided not to proceed with the change.

“That was something that was said as an off-the-cuff remark made in a briefing, and it’s certainly not something we’ve progressed with and we do not have any plans to, moving forward,” the spokesperson said.

“It was something we were investigating, but will not be implementing at this stage.

The spokesperson explained that the move was, at that time, not necessary or appropriate for the Australian market.

“Of course we keep abreast of developments in other countries and look at whether they are things we should consider, but this is one we will not be moving on at the moment.”

Then in February the world’s largest palm oil trader bought a 10 per cent stake in the company.

Singapore-based Wilmar International bought the stake for $115 million, and may buy more.

“Wilmar is currently assessing whether to increase its shareholding,” the company said in a statement.

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