Voting has begun on proposed changes to workplace arrangements for 1,700 workers at Holden’s Elizabeth factory, with the AMWU claiming that a "no" vote would see the company end its manufacturing operations in Australia in 2016.
News Corp reports that a "yes" vote is predicted for the ballot. Voting took place at 6 am with another round of voting at lunchtime, according to the ABC. The revised conditions are aimed at saving $15 million a year.
If the its parent company, General Motors, does not agree when it meets in September that $1 billion in investment should go ahead – allowing GM Holden to re-tool its Elizabeth factory at the end of the year in preparation for two new models – this would spell the end of Holden’s manufacturing operations in Australia in 2016.
The AMWU’s John Camillo has told News that his gut instinct is that a "yes" vote would be the outcome today, though, “To be honest it's too close to call. It's up to the workers to decide."
Camillo said that while a yes vote was necessary for survival, it may not be sufficient to save the Elizabeth plant if the next government reduced funding to Holden, as the Coalition has pledged to do if elected and as it confirmed would be the case earlier this month.
"Even if the workers put a tick next to the box of approval for the next generation of vehicles here, it still depends on the Government of the day after September 7 whether they support an automotive industry in Australia," Camillo told the ABC.
Savings measures include reducing break times from 40 to 26 minutes, making “malingering” a sackable offence, and productivity-based incentives comparatively more generous than those offered at rival Toyota. An explanation of the deal is given at carsguide.com.au.
The result is likely to be known this afternoon.
Image: News Corp