INCREASING pressure from cheaper foreign imports is set to see one of Bathurst’s biggest manufacturers overhaul its local operation to ensure it remains competitive in the global market.
The initiative will see the review, and likely loss, of all three casual positions as well as six voluntary redundancies offered to the 22 fulltime staff members on the books at Devro’s Vale Road plant.
The company also employs a 220-strong workforce at Devro’s Kelso factory where future job roles are facing changes.
Devro management met with local staff on Wednesday to announce the review.
Managing director Beverley Munro told the Western Advocate yesterday the company was committed to its Bathurst operation.
One of the world’s leading suppliers of collagen casings for sausage and other meat products, Devro has manufacturing sites in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Bathurst in Australia.
“We are a profitable business but have to react now to reduce costs to remain competitive,” Ms Munro said. “As a global manufacturer we are under the same pressures as other local manufacturers such as Mars and Electrolux.
“We need to ensure our sustainability in this challenging market. This means we will be proactively implementing a number of initiatives to improve operations, improve processes across the business and reduce costs.
“This will have some impact to jobs. We will be reducing our casual labour force, implementing a voluntary redundancy program at our Vale Road plant, and there will be changes to job roles at both our sites.”
Ms Munro said their challenge was the same as all Australian manufacturers.
“We need to continually change and adapt to remain competitive,” she said.
Devro has been a major employer in Bathurst since 1979.
“Up until the last few years, there were no direct competitors in the Australian and New Zealand market,” Ms Munro said. “There is now increasing pressure from the cheaper foreign imports. The Bathurst plants supply the Australasian market with 50 per cent of that product being exported.
“This means we are now susceptible to global market shifts.”