October 3, 2003
On Wednesday, the world?s second largest wool-processing company, Bremer Woll-Kammeral (BWK), announced the closure of its Geelong Wool Combing (GWC) mill at Corio, Geelong in Victoria, Australia. The worsening downturn in the global wool industry and the unresolved industrial dispute at the plant were behind the decision to close.
At full capacity, the 115 employees could comb in excess of 10,000 tons of wool. Operations at the plant have been suspended for the last five months in a dispute with the Victoria branch of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union at Australia. According to News Australia, employees were locked out five months ago after they refused to take a 25 percent pay cut when the company wanted to change its operations from seven days to five days a week and remove weekend loading rates.
Jim Robinson, president of the Australian Wool Processors Council, commented that processing wool in Australia was becoming unviable. ?The dream of value-adding Australian wool was now turning into a nightmare,? he stated.
Staff contact: Rita Kourlis Samuelson, ext. 29