Ford supplier’s closure leaves 117 jobless

TROUBLED auto parts maker CMI Industrial will all but shut down, and 117 workers will lose their jobs after the receivers failed to find a buyer for most of the business.

Receivers McGrathNicol said this afternoon that CMI’s Campbellfield and West Footscray factories will shut after October, while CMI’s Ballarat business could still be sold as an ongoing concern.

CMI makes seatbelt restraints, airbags, brake pad backing plates, suspension components and door and boot hinge parts.

In April, a disruption at its workshops saw Ford forced to stand down workers for several days, because the car maker could not get parts it needed.

Ford said this afternoon it would be able to find a solution to sourcing parts when CMI closed.

“We’re not anticipating any disruptions because the company is expected to trade until the end of October, so there’s time to secure the supply situation from elsewhere,” Ford spokesman Neil McDonald said.

The union representing auto workers this afternoon blamed the problems facing firms like CMI on the failure of Australian governments to buy Australian cars.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union described the closure of CMI as a “clarion call” for state and federal governments to back the industry.

The union’s Victorian assistant state secretary Leigh Diehm said the decision would come as real blow to more than 100 workers, who would now be out of work despite sticking by the company after it was placed into administration, then receivership, followed by liquidation.

“There will be 117 workers out of job,” Mr Diehm said.

And he said a key source of the decreased demand for locally made cars was the government procurement of their own fleets.

AMWU research has found this has gone from 66 per cent of all government cars to 33 per cent over the last decade.

“If there was greater demand for these auto-products, in all likelihood the plants could have remained open,” Mr Diehm said.

McGrathNicol’s Keith Crawford said CMI’s Campbellfield factory employed 67 people, while its West Footscray businesses had 52 staff. These people would all be made redundant by the end of October.

The receivers will lodge claims in respect of their redundancy entitlements with the Federal Government’s General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS).