Manufacturing News

Government offers help to workers of closing Bridgestone plant

The South Australian and Federal Governments will provide $5.7 million to help 600 Bridgestone workers retrain and find new jobs when the local tyre producer shuts in April next year.

Bridgestone plans to close the suburban Salisbury plant in Adelaide that has operated for more than 40 years.

The South Australian Government has criticised the decision and the company’s handling of it, chastising its lack of notice which would have allowed for workers to be offered counselling and other assistance.

But Premier Mike Rann said the State and Federal Governments and unions had been working with Bridgestone since then to put together a support package.

The support package will help fund training courses and provide practical assistance including help with applying for jobs, preparation of resumes and help with interview skills. It will also be used to fund work experience opportunities.

The training and job placement package is similar to one negotiated for Mitsubishi workers who lost their jobs when the car maker closed its assembly operations in Adelaide in 2008.

As with Mitsubishi, Mr Rann said Bridgestone would also be expected to meet all its obligations to workers made redundant.

“Anything less than this would be unacceptable to the government,” he said.

Bridgestone Australia said the decision to close the Salisbury plant which has operated since 1965 was in response to international factors.

The company has also decided to close its plant in Christchurch, New Zealand which has operated since 1947. Two-hundred and seventy-five New Zealand workers will also be made redundant.

The company said tyre production operations in both countries had been running at a loss for several years and despite efforts to improve cost competitiveness, tyre manufacturing conditions in Australia and New Zealand continued to worsen.

Bridgestone said it will now import its tyres from Japan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Mr Rann said Bridgestone’s decision was a devastating blow for its loyal workers.

“It reflects the very difficult circumstances that some parts of our manufacturing sector are in right now, particularly the automotive sector,” he said.

“While I am disappointed about the decision that has been made by Bridgestone, I reiterate that this Government’s key commitment is to help Bridgestone workers.

“We will work with the Commonwealth, unions and the company to deliver this package and ensure as many workers as possible find new jobs.”

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend