Bill Sauer, plant manager at JBS Meatworks, Nerimbera.
Bill Sauer, plant manager at JBS Meatworks, Nerimbera. Sharyn O'Neill ROK100712svote1

500 Rocky employees out of work amidst unexpected shutdown

500 ROCKHAMPTON employees are out of work this week after a machinery breakdown.

JBS meat workers received a text message at 12.30am Tuesday informing there would be no work that day as the malfunction caused the plant to shut down.

Plant Manager Bill Sauer confirmed 500 employees have been stood down from work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could not confirm when they would return.

"It is a technical piece of machinery used for the processing part," Mr Sauer said.

When asked, Mr Sauer did not want to comment on how the breakdown would impact production and meat processing.

The meatworks manager said it was workers in the main processing areas that are affected.

"Maintenance and administration teams are still able to work," Mr Sauer said.

Mr Sauer said he wasn't sure what the exact issue is with the machinery and it "was frustrating."

"We have engineering people here from Brisbane and Melbourne looking at it," Mr Sauer said.

Affected workers are able to apply for annual leave for the unplanned days off work while the plant is shut.

"And there is opportunities for them to work on their extra rostered days off," he said.

Workers might be able to work to work tomorrow.

"We are hoping to get it up and running today," Mr Sauer said.

The JBS Rockhampton meatworks plant draws upon a local cattle herd of six million head.

The Rockhampton site has a daily processing capacity of 696 cattle and employs more than 500 staff.

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