Likely halts to factory production as manufacturing jobs shrink
7 January 2013
Holden workers are preparing for factory shutdowns amid a slowdown in Commodore sales, as 24,000 Victorian manufacturing jobs were lost since August.
The car maker is expected to halt production for several days in the first half of the year, as buyers hold off in the lead-up to the release of the new Commodore.
And construction industry leaders warned there would be major job losses in the commercial building sector this year, while residential builders were cutting costs to keep staff on.
New Federal Government figures show Victoria's manufacturing sector shrunk to 283,800 jobs in December, down from 308,200 in August that the State Government was spruiking.
Holden slashed 370 jobs last year and the latest sales figures show that Commodore slipped to fourth on the list of sellers this year, after its 15-year reign at the top ended in 2011.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union vehicle division secretary Dave Smith said he hoped that the new Commodore model would be popular and save jobs.
"Part of Holden's problem is that they are seeing a buyers' strike ahead of the new model, which is always pretty tough," he said.
"I think you will see down time. I suspect there will be shorter hours up until the launch of the new car.
"At some stage or another, if things don't turn around they will have to make decisions about down balancing (job cuts)."
Australian Workers Union federal secretary Paul Howes said more manufacturing jobs would go this year, as Australia's high dollar made our exports more expensive and imported goods cheaper.
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