Wool workers lose their jobs: Factory closure a blow for 26 staff

TOUGH times in the wool industry have forced a Hamilton business to close its doors and 26 people to lose their jobs.Grampians Wool Industries will operate its Lodge Road factory for the final time next Friday after 47 years of business in the national wool capital.The wool scouring and carbonising plant was bought by wool exporter Fox and Lillie in 1996 and has hit troubled waters in recent years due to a global shortage of orders and a lack of wool supply.All employees would receive due entitlements, the plant’s owners said in a statement yesterday.Lowan MP Hugh Delahunty said the closure of one of Australia’s last wool scouring plants was a bad sign for the industry.”It’s another example of the State Government placing excessive financial constraints on business and seeing them forced to close their doors as a result,” he said.”Grampians Wool Industries was a local option for farmers in the region to sell their wool and keep the wool industry local.”If a woolen mill can’t operate in Hamilton, the nation’s wool capital, where can it operate?” Mr Delahunty wrote a letter to the Essential Services Commission chairman in February last year on behalf of Grampians Wool Industries imploring the commission to be more measured in its increased water charge.”Stamp duty, WorkCover premiums, water charges – they’re all skyrocketing on the State Government’s watch and it’s crushing business,” Mr Delahunty said.Southern Grampians Shire Mayor Marcus Rentsch said the closure was a blow to employees, the region’s wool industry and other Hamilton businesses.”It’s very disappointing to see any business close and our major concern is the welfare of the 26 employees and their families,” he said.”Many of the workers for Grampians Wool Industries are skilled in various trades – plumbers, boiler makers and so on – so I’m sure their services will be in demand.”Most wool these days is scoured and carbonised in China which can outpace us in labour costs.”The Hamilton plant closure comes after Western Australia’s last wool scouring plant shut its doors last week.Jandakot Wool Washing, south of Perth, closed after it struggled to compete with China’s wool scouring sector.
HangZhou Night Net

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.