Godfrey Hirst closes yarn making factory; 37 workers to be left jobless

Thirty-seven factory workers will lose their jobs when carpet and rug manufacturer Godfrey Hirst closes its Benalla factory next month.

The closure is a result of a continuing decline in demand for wool carpets and increasing demand for synthetic carpet, largely driven by a high Australian dollar and higher price of wool.

The 37 workers are expected to receive their formal termination notice tomorrow. Job cuts will be conducted in stages before the factory’s official closure date.

Godfrey Hirst has been slowly reducing the size of the Benalla site over the past 12 months by cutting back shifts and making some redundancies to keep the factory afloat. However, these changes made little difference for the carpet maker in the current economic and industry climate.

The company has been operating Benalla Spinners, trading as “Benalla” since it acquired the company in 1993.

Benalla manufactures woollen yarns for use in Godfrey Hirst carpets. The facility comprises a number of advanced operations including blending, spinning, twisting and heat-setting. It also houses a Superba heat-setting department, waste recycling department and a raw materials storage department.

The site receives daily deliveries of raw material and dyed, blended fibre from Godfrey Hirst’s Geelong for processing and then to be spun together into single or multi-ply yarn.  The yarn is then returned to the Geelong plant where it is tufted into carpet.

Image: Godfrey Hirst