UPDATE: 6.30pm: Member for Western Victoria James Purcell has described Murray Goulburn’s cutting of 31 jobs as “devastating” and “crushing” for the town of Koroit.
"This is really disappointing and I feel really sad for the people who will be without jobs,” he said.
"It's devastating to see job losses of this magnitude - almost 2.5 per cent of Koroit's population face unemployment - in a metro community this would be a national emergency."
Mr Purcell said he would ask the state government to support the workers.
UPDATE 1.28PM: The large number of redundancies among tanker operators at Murray Goulburn’s (MG) Koroit plant has surprised the town.
Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas said some redundancies had been expected because of MG’s drop in milk supply.
However he had anticipated the Koroit plant to be cushioned against the bulk of them because he had expected it to take on milk processed at two of MG’s northern Victoria plants that are to be shut down.
But Koroit has been hit with the bulk of the redundancies, up to 31, with reports that 12 are to go from Leongatha, six from Maffa and 11 from Rochester.
Cr Doukas said the redundancies would have a big impact on Koroit.
MG is the major employer in Koroit and Cr Doukas said he was relieved it would continue to operate.
Transport Workers Union state secretary John Berger said the union would work with the company to secure the best possible outcome for its members affected by the decision.
“The TWU will ensure these workers, some of whom have been with the union and the company for decades, are cared for appropriately and receive the best possible outcome from a very bad situation,” Mr Berger said.
The union said it had not had much discussion with the company about the redundancies prior to the announcement.
UPDATE, 10.30AM: Murray Goulburn’s (MG) Koroit plant appears to be among the hardest hit in the company’s latest round of redundancies, with up to 31 of the 60 positions to go expected to come from the plant.
A MG spokesman said the company was in talks with the Transport Workers Union over the redundancies.
The redundancies follow a big drop in MG’s milk supply from 2.7 billion litres last year to 2 billion litres this year as farmers moved their milk supply to other processors.
The big switch came after MG’s farmgate milk prices plunged to among the lowest in the industry.
EARLIER: Sixty tanker operator roles at Murray Goulburn’s (MG) Koroit, Leongatha, Maffra and Rochester plants will be made redundant as the beseiged dairy processor battles to cope with a big decline in its milk intake.
An MG spokesperson said the company would offer voluntary redundancies in the first instance and seek to make changes to rosters to absorb the cuts to its workforce.
“We are committed to ensuring that we provide any affected employees with appropriate levels of support and the recognition that they deserve during this period of transition,” the spokesperson said.
“MG will support employees by providing access to career transition and redeployment services.
“These actions are regrettable but necessary to ensure a strong MG that can deliver sustainable and competitive returns for our suppliers. the spokesperson said.
“This is a continuation of efforts to address MG’s cost base, improve efficiencies and ultimately increase earnings and the farmgate milk price,” the spokesperson said.