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20 May 2020
Luv-a-Duck leaders are welcoming a slight increase in business due to the easing of coronavirus restrictions on food providers as they continue to ‘weather the storm’ created by COVID-19.
More than 60 jobs throughout the long-running family business, founded and based at Nhill, have been lost due to the pandemic.
Chief executive James Thompson said the virus had affected all 158 staff at the Nhill processing plant, along with supporters and growing and breeding partners.
“We have had to make 11 redundancies, including three at Nhill, and 39 stand-downs, 34 at Nhill,” he said.
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“We had to terminate 15 casuals at Nhill and several other casuals throughout parts of the business.
“We have dropped processing at Nhill from five days to three, all staff have had a wage freeze and senior executives volunteered to have wage cuts.
“We have done this with an eye to getting the ship through the storm until the clouds clear and the sun shines.
“Everyone is banding together to ensure we come out the other side bigger and stronger.”
Mr Thompson said Luv-a-Duck had received a small boost thanks to governments in other states and territories easing restrictions on cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels.
Victoria’s staged reopening of the hospitality industry starts next month.
Mr Thompson said he was hopeful of calling back eight of 34 stood-down staff to help supply the fresh demand from loyal supporters.
“We have obviously had to cut back production to meet the market’s falling demand,” he said.
“When the government restrictions were announced in March, we lost more than 70 percent of our business overnight. It was like the flicking of a switch – you can’t prepare for that.”
Mr Thompson said thankfully the business qualified for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program, which he said he hoped would continue through to the end of September as planned.
“It is a very challenging time but all businesses that rely on the food-service industry are in the same boat,” he said.
“I think the government’s National Cabinet has done a great job. They had to make tough decisions to protect the people of this country.
“We are optimistic that if things go well, the government will continue to ease restrictions. However, we expect recovery to be a gradual and slow process, it won’t happen overnight.”
Mr Thompson said Luv-a-Duck remained committed to continuing its growth trajectory after coming through the other side of the pandemic.
“Luv-a-Duck is a family business founded on strength and grit,” he said.
“It has endured challenges in the past and we will successfully get through this one.”
– Sarah Matthews
The entire May 20, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!