Pac Brands sneaks out machines

MELBOURNE— On May 29, union and community activists protested against Pacific Brands' attempt to move machinery out of Australia. The protest was held at Swanston Dock. Pacific Brands, which makes government uniforms, said in February it would sack 1850 workers and move clothing production overseas.

Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia national secretary Michelle O'Neil told protesters Pacific Brands had secretly moved machinery from its Nunawading factory the night before, and transported it to the dock.

The Nunawading site employs 250 workers. They will be sacked when the factory closes in two months. The machinery taken from the site will go to Pacific Brands' Berlei factory in Indonesia.

The company received $17 million from taxpayers over the past two financial years. "Pacific Brands said they had no intention of moving machinery and now we find them trying to sneak these machines out of the country," O'Neil said. They treat workers and taxpayers with contempt."

She said government uniforms should be made in Australia and called on the Rudd government to step in, not just "express sympathy".