Austube Mills will cut 86 jobs by September at the Somerton factory it will leave altogether in November.
The Hume Leader reports that the workers and Australian Workers Union were taken by surprise with the news from the company, which makes structural steel pipe and tube products.
Workers were told that the site was not producing the right product mix, according to an anonymous employee.
“We thought maybe what they (Austube) might do is get rid of a crew, get rid of a dozen workers, try and do a bit of cost-cutting,” the worker told The Leader.
“At least they could have tried, at least made it look like they were going to try and keep the place going, try to run (it) a bit more leaner.”
Austube is part of Arrium’s steelmaking operations, and marked its 80th anniversary last year.
It will keep two other sites open after shutting down production and then leaving Somerton in late August and November respectively. These are at Acacia Ridge, Queensland, and Mayfield, NSW.
Austube is Australia’s largest producer of the “widest range of high quality structural steel pipe, tube and open profile sections”.