Holden boss fails to meet workers

The boss of General Motors made a flying visit to Australia but failed to tour the Elizabeth car-making factory or to meet workers or their representatives.

News.com.au reports that Stefan Jacoby came to Australia to view the Holden model range and meet some of the engineers who developed the range. The trip was part of a world tour and he was only in the country for less than two days.

The fact that he failed to find time to meet with workers could be seen as indication that the future of GM’s local manufacturing operations are in serious doubt.

The SA secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union John Camillo was one significant stakeholder who was not granted a meeting with Jacoby.

“I’m disappointed I never got to put the union’s point of view across,” Camillo told News Corp Australia.

“I offered to drop everything for just a 10-minute meeting, even if it was just at the airport. I understand he’s busy but we’re talking about the jobs and future of 1700 Holden workers and those in the parts supply industry and I wanted him to know what sacrifices we had made to help Holden keep manufacturing in Australia.”

The livelihoods of the workers in Elizabeth are in the balance. In August, they voted for a three-year wage freeze in the hope that their jobs could be salvaged.

However, last week that decision was reversed on the grounds that, at the time of the vote, it was thought that by now it would have been announced whether or not Holden would quit Australia. 

Such an announcement has not yet been made.

For its part, the federal government will wait until after a current Productivity Commission inquiry has handed down its report into auto industry subsidies in March 2014 before deciding whether or not to provide Holden with the extra assistance it has requested.