Sadness, anger, goodbyes at mill

Kimberly-Clark Australia Albury mill manager Graham Rodda says it has been a tough week as the plant officially closed its doors yesterday. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLKIMBERLY-Clark Australia’s Albury mill has officially closed its doors following its last production day yesterday.
Nanjing Night Net

Twenty-six staff said their goodbyes as the nonwoven fabrics mill shut up shop, another victim of the region’s declining manufacturing industry.

Forty-four people have lost their jobs in the closure, although a number will remain until the end of July to pack up the factory and prepare it for sale.

Expressions of interest for the Drome Street site opened at the weekend, through LJ Colquhoun Dixon.

Mill manager Graham Rodda said staff had been supportive of each other in what had been a tough period.

“We’re a close-knit team, a family — and I don’t use that description lightly,” he said.

“There’s been sadness, a little anger, but on the whole they’ve got on with the job.

“The whole team has been fantastic ever since the closure was announced (in October), they’ve stayed focused and worked hard.”

A farewell celebration for staff and their families was held at the Commercial Club last Friday, after the last production machine was shut off, to “give the staff some closure as they move on to the next chapter”, Mr Rodda said.

“It’s never an easy process but we’ve kept the channels of communication open throughout and I hope the staff feel they’ve been treated with dignity and respect,” he said.

Staff at the plant had worked there for an average 17 years each; one employee finished up after starting with the company in 1987.

Mr Rodda said the Albury plant had been in a unique situation, under pressure as a small manufacturing site to keep its place in the market.

“It’s like the local corner store having to compete with the major supermarket chains,” he said.

He said about half the staff had found alternative work options.

Although the region’s manufacturing industry had struggled in recent times, Mr Rodda is holding out hope ano-ther local manufacturer could swoop in to buy the site.

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