Holden workers face pay cuts to stay in operation

Holden assembly workers are facing wage cuts to keep their jobs.
Holden assembly workers are facing wage cuts to keep their jobs. GM

HOLDEN workers are facing wage cuts as the Australian car maker looks to reduce costs and remain viable.

The company's Adelaide workforce has been approached to consider pay reductions in the midst of challenging manufacturing times.

Holden wants to make significant annual savings and productivity improvements.

The news follows Ford's announcement last month to cease production by 2016, cutting 1200 jobs at its Victorian plants in the process. That will mean the end of the Falcon nameplate. 

Holden, unions and employee representatives met today to discuss labour related cost reductions.  Any changes to employees' conditions will require a vote by the workforce.

Unable to make the trip to Elizabeth today due to poor weather, Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux said opening discussions was a difficult but critical step towards securing the future of automotive manufacturing in Australia.

"The ongoing speculation about the future of the industry affects our employees and their families; they're doing it tough right now and we appreciate their resilience and commitment," Mr Devereux said.

"This is about giving Holden employees a direct say in their future. We can't survive as a local manufacturer if we're not competitive and we don't reduce our costs.

"All options for improving productivity are on the table. We will work closely with the unions and our people to develop a fair and reasonable proposal in line with other local manufacturers across all industries."

Over the past two years Holden has made a number of changes across the business to reduce costs and better position itself in the market.

"Every person in this company is doing everything they can to secure Holden's future as a local manufacturer," Mr Devereux said.

"We've re-rated the production line at Elizabeth and made significant investments in our locally-made vehicles like the new VF Commodore, which is the most advanced car ever created in Australia.

"Holden is aggressively pricing and marketing its cars to compete against imports which benefit from the high Australian dollar and the country's internationally low tariff levels.

"Holden has to be globally competitive, and so does the country's industry policy. As a local manufacturer Holden is asking for a fair go - Australia must be able to compete fairly on the world stage.

"We need clear, consistent and competitive government policy to help secure a long-term future for manufacturing."

Details of the discussions with unions and employees will remain confidential until the Holden workforce vote.

Topics:  cars news holden motoring

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