The Guardian 9 February, 2005

No sugar-coating on Bundaberg bailout

Bundaberg Sugar's announcement on February 3 that it is closing its Fairymead Mill is extremely disappointing and was made without any meaningful consultation with unions, according to the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) which represents about 30 maintenance workers at the mill. The decision comes on top of the closure last year of the mill at Nambour on the Sunshine Coast.

AMWU Queensland secretary Andrew Dettmer said the decision to close the mill located outside Bundaberg comes as a shock and is very distressing for the union's members, some of whom have more than 30 years service at the plant. It reflects a lower priority on the part of the company to employment in the area since it was acquired by Belgian-based Finasucre in 2000.

"AMWU officials will spend the next few days getting to the bottom of the decision and consulting with our members at the mill. I will have a lot more to say about the decision and what this union intends doing about it when that process is complete.

"However, I should remind everyone that we have made it perfectly clear in the last 18 months, during our campaign to save the sugar industry, that we would oppose, on the ground and in workplaces if necessary, attempts to close mills. We intend to make government and business accountable", Mr Dettmer said.

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