Shoalhaven paper mill employees are still waiting for the announcement of a closure date for the Bomaderry operation.
However, union officials believe workers will be better informed after a meeting of CEOs and senior management in Japan on Tuesday.
Shoalhaven paper mill worker and CFMEU pulp and paper workers district Nowra sub-branch secretary Jack Evans said he expected a decision on the mill’s final operation to be decided at this week’s meeting.
“We haven’t heard anything in concrete, but after this week we expect a decision will be made and then an official announcement by the end of the month,” he said.
“Until the time the company decides to close the operation, we continue to work and fulfil our orders.”
Mr Evans said the business had orders until at least the middle of July.
As well as being an employee and union rep at the mill, Mr Evans has also taken on a role with Forest Industry Employment and Training Services (FIETS) and will be canvassing a number of local businesses in the area this week, in an attempt to gain employment for the mill’s 75 staff.
“A couple of workers have secured jobs in the industry but outside the Shoalhaven and will be relocating, while a small number will also be retiring,” Mr Evans said.
“We will still have a large number of highly skilled employees seeking employment in the local area and we would love to hear from any local businesses which may have jobs.
“They are a dynamic workforce, highly skilled in a number of areas and proven, reliable workers.”
Mr Evans said the union was still negotiating with the government to have the workers’ skills recognised.
“We still haven’t heard where the government is going to access its passport papers, but we are told they have it in hand,” Mr Evans said.
He said the union was also working with the company in trying to organise tours of the mill for family members.
“We have a few OHS issues to sort out but hopefully we can show them where we all work,” he said.
“We would also like to bring a number of former employees back through the mill one last time.”
With the announced closure of the mill, which has been part of the Shoalhaven fabric since the 1950s, Liz Tooley, who wrote the history of the operation to commemorate its 40th anniversary, will be updating her book A Grand Adventure History of Shoalhaven Paper Mill.
The book will include the period from 1996 to its closure.
If any businesses would like to discuss work opportunities for paper mill employees they can contact Jack Evans on 0402 053579 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.