Textile workers are looking to future

Cathy McGowan inspects fabric during a visit to the Australian Textile Mills factory in Wangaratta yesterday.

Cathy McGowan inspects fabric during a visit to the Australian Textile Mills factory in Wangaratta yesterday.

STAFF who remain at the former Bruck Textiles Technologies factory in Wangaratta are positive about the future, says member for Indi Cathy McGowan.

But the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia said the sacked workers at Bruck were yet to receive their entitlements and only a small number had found new jobs.

Ms McGowan yesterday toured the factory, which now operates as Australian Textile Mills.

Fifty-eight workers were made redundant last month.

Australian Textile Mills bought Bruck and placed it into liquidation, leaving those staff who lost their jobs without annual leave, long service leave and redundancy entitlements.

But Ms McGowan said the staff who had kept their jobs were feeling positive.

“They’re optimistic about their future,” she said.

“They’re hoping the changes made will keep them in business for a long time.

“Today was about communication and for me to do anything I can to support the ‘new Bruck’.

“There are 217 people working there now and it’s still a very important part of the electorate.”

Ms McGowan said she did not meet those who had lost their jobs but they were encouraged to visit her offices.

“The loss of jobs and the impact of that is very concerning,” she said.

“I don’t want to take away from that and the people who don’t have their jobs.

“But there is a lot of good manufacturing in Indi and a lot of exporting taking place.”

Union national secretary Michele O’Neil said the sacked workers were facing “extreme hardship”.

“The workers have been forced to apply to a government scheme for entitlements,” she said.

“They’re owed nearly $4 million and they’re still waiting.”

Ms O’Neil said the federal government’s response was not good enough and action was being taken in the Fair Work Commission.

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