(Australia) — There was a feeling of acceptance among Cement Australia ex-workers who gathered at the Kandos Hotelfor drinks after the Kandos plant closed for the final time on Friday.
Former worker Glenn Sargent said enough time had passed since plans for the closure was announced in July for people to start looking forward.
“The initial wave of shock that came over the town when the closure was announced has gone and we’ve had time to accept it now,” he said.
“The main thing is we don’t move away, that we stay around town, go to the shops, the newsagencies, the pubs, that our kids continue to go to school here and play in the local sports teams.
“I would hate to see the town die just because of a drop in numbers.”
Mr Sargent said different employment opportunities elsewhere in the region and the rural lifestyle could be enough to keep a number of former employees close by.
“Most people have got new jobs in the district. They may have to travel to get there but that’s just the way it is,” he said.
“I moved out to the country for the change of lifestyle and I got it.
“I used to drive for an hour to work which was only two kilometres away. Working somewhere else in the district would mean having to drive an hour again but it would be 100 kilometres away.”
Mr Sargent said the employees worked hard until the plant closed, powering through the plant’s remaining clinker – material which is ground down to produce cement.
“We thought it would be hard to get people motivated for the last few months knowing that the end was coming,” he said.
“But to their credit, we got through more clinker and loaded more trains than we ever thought possible. It was just a sign of the resilience of the guys.”