Redundant Holden workers “concerned about the viability of manufacturing”

Some of the 400 workers at Holden’s Elizabeth plant who took voluntary redundancies and left the company last month are reluctant to continue working in the manufacturing sector, according to a report yesterday.

Damian Menzies, who is trying to find work for the ex-Holden workers, told the ABC yesterday that there’s a caution among some of them regarding continuing a career in manufacturing, despite having valuable skills.

“I wouldn't say they wouldn't want to [continue working in the industry],” Menzies told the ABC's The World Today.

“They're concerned about the viability of manufacturing as an industry. And if they believed everything the read in the papers, if they believed everything they saw in the news, then you know, that's a legitimate fear.”

About 1,700 workers are still employed at Holden’s Elizabeth plant, and the future of the car maker – though its workers voted last month to take a three-year pay freeze and to adopt other measures aimed at saving $15 million a year – is still uncertain.

The South Australian government has said it will wait until after the September 7 federal election to decide on further funding for Holden, and the Coalition, which is likely to win government, has said it will reduce automotive assistance by $500 million. Holden has said that any reduction in assistance could mean that it would stop making cars in Australia.

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