Holden will soon be “tapping people on the shoulder” for forced redundancies at its Adelaide production plant, says a South Australian union official.
The carmaker is seeking volunteers for 270 redundancy packages as it prepares to slow production from 290 to 240 cars a day to match falling demand, especially for its Commodore large car and smaller Cruze range.
John Camillo, the South Australian state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) said he was confident of getting 270 volunteers.
“It’s 220 production workers, 30 trades people and 20 salaried people – we’ll know early next week if they have enough.”
But he said forced redundancies were not far away. “So far no one has been forced out, but a time will come when they will be tapping people on the shoulder … that time will come soon,” he said.
Holden said the redundancies better aligns production with demand as it counts down to 2017 and the end of its carmaking operations in Australia.
“As previously announced, Holden’s manufacturing operations will wind down on a sliding scale to ensure an orderly transition,” said its South Australian corporate affairs manager Sophie Milic.
Holden has 1530 employees in the Adelaide plant, roughly half the number it had earlier last year. At its peak the Adelaide plant was producing 600 cars a day.
Overall Holden sales across the ditch for the first three months of 2015 were down almost 10 per cent on the same period last year. Commodore sedan and Sportwagon sales had slumped by 17 per cent; Cruze numbers were down by 5.5 per cent, following last year’s calamitous 25 per cent drop on 2013.
The only Holden vehicles to improve on 2014 sales were the Barina Spark, Colorado four-wheel-drive light truck and Colorado 7 SUV.