Swickers Bacon Factory has absenteeism of about 40-60 employees per day since the announcement of this pandemic. (Photo:File)
Swickers Bacon Factory has absenteeism of about 40-60 employees per day since the announcement of this pandemic. (Photo:File)

Swickers outlines its coronavirus prevention measures

THE South Burnett's biggest employer is taking on additional staff due to pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Swickers Kingaroy Bacon Factory is facing an increased demand for its products due to panic buying across the country.

Sunpork Group CEO Dr Robert Van Barneveld said no amount of preparation could have ensured the business was ready for the current situation.

"The reality is, we are currently faced with absenteeism of approximately 40-60 employees per day since the announcement of this pandemic," Dr Van Barneveld said.

These pressures, on top of existing vacancies due to new slaughter floor operations and the start of the 2020 ham season, mean the business is looking for additional skilled labour.

"While I can confirm we do have agency employees working at Swickers, and yes, this week has seen the commencement of more, we always look to employ locals in the first instance," Dr Van Barneveld said.

Swickers currently employs between seven and 10 new staff the South Burnett region each week.

"Prior to the COVID-19 preparations, Swickers was already looking to fill approximately 50 vacancies in various roles across the business.

"These roles vary from general labour to skilled labour, and unfortunately, not all jobs can be filled locally."

Dr Barneveld said the business had strict measures in place regarding its existing workforce and the recruitment of local and agency workers in regards to the health crisis.

"With regards to our existing agency employees, I can confirm they are all from the state of Queensland and that checks have taken place to ensure they present no risks in regards to international travel," he said.

Swickers has also implemented a range of measures to help reduce the impact and stem the spread of the coronavirus to ensure the health and safety of employees and the community, while remaining fully operational.

"Our measures include temperature testing prior to entry, segregation of departments to reduce cross-contamination, communication on social distancing, additional sanitisation measures required of people and additional hygiene practices in general across the site," Dr Barneveld said.

After the Federal Government restricted hospitality businesses to takeaway trade only, which resulted in job losses across the sector, Sunpork's teams made immediate contact with managers of all Kingaroy hotels.

These businesses were provided electronic application forms and information on current vacancies at Swickers.

"We welcome any locals, including those that have recently lost their job due to the COVID-19 impact, to apply," Dr Van Barneveld said.

The CEO urged the community to help Swickers by ensuring no employees were exposed to the coronavirus.

"Swickers is the largest employer in the South Burnett and as an essential service supplying food, we must stay operational," he said.

"Follow any government guidelines, avoid gatherings, self-isolate if you have symptoms and ensure you are complying with social distancing and hygiene recommendations.

"Remember, if you put one of our employees at risk, you potentially affect many others."

Anyone interested in applying for a job at swickers can email employment@swickers.com.au to request an application form.