Summertime Fruit Juice has again refuted persistent rumours workers have been sacked and the company is in strife.
In a bid to silence speculation the company is in financial turmoil, a lawyer representing Summertime revealed the beverage manufacturer is weeks away from announcing details of a multi-million dollar tender.
“I am not sure if the permanent staff are taking leave without pay, but my understanding is that most of the permanent staff are still working, although I would need to confirm that,” lawyer Dan Tresise said.
“At this stage, the upgrades will be finished in a few weeks – I can’t be clearer than that because the maintenance staff themselves can’t know for sure.
“We have a massive tender for a cordial contract for which the revenue would be in the order of $9 million plus.”
Mr Tresise said the company was aware of intense speculation concerning its operations after temporarily standing down casual processing staff not needed during renovations.
“We can’t take such a major contract without making sure we have the capacity to meet it which is why we’re making major upgrades to the lines.
“When you say to employees we won’t be employing you for a month or so they tend to get annoyed and hence the rumour file starts.
“We made a strategic decision to get the plant where it needed to be and to do that we needed to stop producing.”
A casual employee who could not be named for fear of losing their job, said the staff were told to stay home for two weeks eight weeks ago.
“Around the end of January the staff were called in, told we would be a temporary shut down and we’d be stood down for a week approximately two weeks,” they said.
“They haven’t told us when we’re going back so nobody can go to Centrelink and we can’t apply for other work because we don’t know if we have a job or not.
“They gave us two days notice and everyone planned for two weeks off but this is the eighth week and we haven’t heard anything, all I know is they are running a skeleton crew.
“It makes it impossible to pay bills when you have zero dollars coming in.”