Electrolux Orange factory to end production today

More than seven decades of manufacturing history will come to a close today when Electrolux shuts its factory in Orange.

The last fridge will be made today at the site, which bopened in 1942 producing munitions for the Second World War. The closure wasannounced by the Swedish parent company Electrolux Group in October 2013, with production moved to the Thai industrial hub of Rayong.

“They have government support, they have trade-free zones within these industrial parks and of course at the end of the day a labour rate of $2.50 an hour,” Mark O’Kane, general manager at Orange and who will oversee the Thailand plant, told the ABC.

“That is really hard to compete against, I’m really fearful for Australian manufacturing.”

About 90 will remain at the site until the year’s end to decommission the site, with 210 jobs to finish up today. At its peak in the 1970s, around 2,000 were employed onsite.

Staged redundancies began late-2015, notes The Central West Daily.

According to the ABC, about 12 million fridges have been made at the Orange factory, which started making household goods including fans, stoves and washing machines in 1946 before narrowing the focus to fridges.