Holden’s decision to impose forced redundancies on its workers after failing to attract sufficient volunteers for its latest round of 270 layoffs at its Elizabeth plant has been described as “a sad day for our members, Adelaide and the nation” by the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU).
The latest redundancies saw Holden’s workforce in Australia shrink by 10% as the carmaker prepares for its 2017 exit and as car production winds down.
“We knew this day was coming, but it doesn’t make it any easier for workers or the community,” said AMWU South Australian Secretary John Camillo.
“We are also concerned about the immediate flow on effects into the components sector, which will now no doubt see job losses, and into the entire Adelaide community.”
He said the Government needed to act quickly and dip into the unspent $800 million which it was “hoarding from the industry in its Automotive Transformation Scheme” to limit the fall-out among hundreds of jobs in the components sector.
According to him, an immediate way to help create new job opportunities for the Holden workers and to secure components sector jobs was to “assist parts makers with plans to expand into new products and markets”.
“The opportunity is there for the Federal Government to help these firms expand, create new jobs, but they are sitting on $800 million in ATS funds,” Mr Camillo said.
“But so far we’ve seen almost no action – and most of the ATS funds unspent, and unallocated. South Australia has put $10 million into assisting components firms with a viable business case, but federal funding is woefully inadequate. It show’s Canberra’s mindset is far from Adelaide’s reality.”
Mr Camillo also slammed Holden for not doing enough to support its component suppliers, adding that the AMWU had negotiated a strong redundancy package for members at Holden, only for their re-training component from the company to be limited to a “paltry” $2000.
“Holden washes its hands of these workers when they’re out the gate but the AMWU will stand by them with our links to job agencies in Adelaide’s north and the SA Government’s Beyond Auto program to assist workers in the quest for new jobs and careers,” Mr Camillo said.