THE situation for staff of one of Ipswich's biggest employers is going from bad to worse.
JBS Australia Dinmore continue to cut workers' hours to the bone.
A day shift worker said staff were told yesterday the plant would close at Christmas for four weeks, and each shift will be stood down for an extra week in January, 'due to a lack of cattle'.
The worker, who requested anonymity, said the night shift worked four hours last Thursday, and would not return to work until September 27.
"Day shift will finish by 2pm tomorrow, and then there is no work until Tuesday October 4," the worker said.
"Our agreed work week is 40 hours, we had one two weeks ago, this is the second time since August we have lost a full week's work, for both day and night shift.
"We have been stood down one or two days per week since last year."
With approximately 500 people per shift, this represents a big hit to the Ipswich economy.
Compounding the tough times for JBS workers, the company has refused to negotiate on a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA), despite the previous agreement expiring in December 2015.
When the worker was asked on whether any progress was made, they laughed, saying 'No, not at all'.
"We are being unreasonable, because we won't accept their pathetic offer.
"The union is negotiating on our behalf, they are doing what we ask, we stand to lose $10-15,000 in the first year, we need a significant result."
The worker said floor staff were told yesterday of the company's plans to shut the plant for four weeks at Christmas, with day shift returning for one week, before being stood down for a week, while the night shift staff would be stood down for five weeks, before they return for one week's work.
"How can they say in September there will be no cattle in January?"
JBS Australia Director of Corporate and Regulatory, John Berry, said the company had no comment to make on the progress of the EBA negotiations, or what was preventing an agreement being reached. "No comment, it is an ongoing issue," Mr Berry said.
Mr Berry was also less than forthcoming when asked about the Christmas shutdown.