Car jobs down, down underThe US car industry is bouncing back strongly and the UK is also doing extremely well in this sector. Car makers in mainland Europe on the other hand are having a torrid time, so what is happening in other global car markets? Sadly the situation in Australia seems to mirror what is happening on the continent rather than in the UK or US.
The US car industry is bouncing back strongly and the UK is also doing extremely well in this sector. Car makers in mainland Europe on the other hand are having a torrid time, so what is happening in other global car markets? Sadly the situation in Australia seems to mirror what is happening on the continent rather than in the UK or US. Australian manufacturer Holden, a General Motors company, for example, announced this month that it was shedding 400 jobs from its South Australia plant. The company also said that a further 100 jobs in Melbourne are to be axed. The company added that workers would be offered voluntary redundancy and that the restructuring should be completed by August of this year.
Australian government industry minister, Gary Gray, commented on the losses, saying that they are disappointing but that the government remains solidly behind the motor industry in the country. Gray went on to say that his "thoughts are with affected workers and their families at this difficult time." Mr Gray added that Holden was committed to helping affected workers find new jobs and that all financial entitlements would be honoured. The Australian government is also helping workers via a range of measures applicable via the Automotive Industry Structural Adjustment Program.
In a statement, Mr Gray said: "The Gillard government remains committed to the Australian automotive sector and the manufacturing sector more broadly. We will work with the industry to ensure it is sustainable in a period where the Australian dollar is very strong, for example trading at parity or higher with the US dollar." The strength of the Australian dollar was cited by Holden as a primary reason for the decision to cut its workforce but there have also been other difficult market conditions and the company has seen a decrease in demand for its Australian-built 'Cruze' small car.
Industry minister Gray seemed to remain bullish about the future of Holden, saying that the job losses were part of a wider strategy to make it more competitive and ensure car production remained in Australia. He added: "The automotive manufacturing industry is an integral part of the Australian economy, paying the wages for around 250,000 Australians employed either directly in the sector, or indirectly in related manufacturing and service industries. Our commitment to the sector is why we are investing $5.4 billion to 2020 under our New Car Plan. This will help fund investment and innovation by the car industry and it creates the policy certainty needed to support long-term investment."
Posted by Edwin Miles on