400 highly qualified Holden workers may find themselves on the job market sooner than expected as the carmaker is rumoured to have accelerated plans to retrench hundreds of engineers by the end of October.
According to Motoring.com, the company is contemplating to retrench the bulk of its 600-strong, largely Melbourne-based workforce in the next two months, as much of the work on the final Commodore – a facelifted version of the current VF scheduled to be launched around October 2015 – has already been finalised.
It is also understood that less than 100 engineers will be retained after the company closes its manufacturing operations in 2017.
The Australian automotive sector is deteriorating at an accelerated pace, with Ford the first of the major car makers to close its operations in the country by 2016, followed by Holden and Toyota in late 2017.
Earlier this year the President of GM International Operations (GMIO), Stefan Jacoby, assured the public that the company remained committed to local input, noting that Australian design and engineering are “critical assets for GM globally”.
Holden engineers’ Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA) will be renegotiated in November, and remaining engineers will be redeployed throughout General Motors, both here and overseas.
However, GM Holden Senior Manager for Corporate Communications, Sean Poppitt, refused to comment on the possible job losses in October, saying that remained “absolutely committed to a long and orderly transition” for employees as the company winds down.
“We won’t engage in speculation on timing or the number of employees impacted. As announced last year, Holden’s engineering workforce is largely tied to production of our locally-manufactured vehicles and as such our engineering workforce will be scaled back over time. The company currently has a Voluntary Separation Program open to engineering employees,” he said.
“Holden has also localised a number of engineers to GM headquarters in Detroit where possible,” stated Poppitt.