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Kerry closing Melbourne ingredient factory

Ingredient maker Kerry is closing its manufacturing plant in Melbourne, leaving up to 100 employees out of work.

The National Union of Workers says the Ireland-based company will move at least 75 per cent of its production to Asian factories.

The Altona factory, in the Melbourne’s west, will close for the last time on March 31 2013, and the production of products including bases for milkshakes, donuts and biscuits to Malaysia.

“These are high-wage jobs, high skilled jobs and they were good quality middle class jobs in the western suburbs,” National Union of Workers secretary Tim Kennedy said.

“The problem for these people is that the work for them in the future will be casual work here and there.

“There is just no confidence in the manufacturing industry in Victoria.”

Kerry’s factory closure is further indication that the manufacturing sector in Australia is struggling more than ever, he said.

 

“This is not just a job emptying bins at the footy,” he said.

“Some of the equipment is going to New South Wales but the bulk of it, about three quarters is going back to Malaysia.”

Kerry Group says some employees impacted by the closure would be offered jobs at the company's New South Wales and Queensland operations.

"Whilst manufacturing remains a very competitive environment in Australia and international markets, these decisions enable Kerry to provide sustainable business growth by leveraging the offering at our existing sites within the region," Kerry Ingredients and Flavours Asia-Pacific president Mark McCormack said in a statement.

"Whilst Kerry will continue to invest in and expand our presence in Australia, this is a consolidation of a number of acquisitions made over recent years."

"We'll now be focusing on redundancies and making sure that happens promptly and it happens well, and we'll also be looking at reskilling and retraining the workers."

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