Ford workers in reverse gear

Upset: Ford employee Paul Boulos has worked at the Broadmeadows plant since the 1970s. Picture: Penny StephensTHE federal government has ruled out providing further assistance to Ford, despite the car maker last week announcing it would axe hundreds of jobs by November.
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Ford said it would slash 440 jobs from its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants because of a slump in market demand.

The shedding of more jobs will result in a cut in production from 209 to 148 vehicles a day.

The 440 redundancies will be offered across the business, primarily from manufacturing operations.

It comes less than a year after Ford slashed 240 factory jobs from Broadmeadows and Geelong due to dwindling demand for its vehicles, reducing daily production from 260 to 209 in the process.

In January, the Weekly reported that the federal government would provide $34 million towards a total of $103 million in funding towards manufacturing at Ford.

But Industry Minister Greg Combet said last week the government would not be “committing any funds at this point in time to anything additional”.

Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said the reductions were needed to provide more stability and certainty for the company.

“We understand that, unfortunately, the impact on our employees will be significant, but implementing this structural change is essential to ensure the longer-term health of the business, which is important for our employees and suppliers and communities where we operate.”

Ford employee Paul Boulos, who started with the company aged 18 in the late 1970s, said outside the Broadmeadows plant last week that workers were very upset by the announcement.

Mr Boulos said Ford had been caught out by consumer demands.

“We have very good cars, but the public want cars from Korea, or luxury. We have the rich guy wanting European, the poor guy wanting cheap cars from Korea.”

Mr Graziano said all employees who took up redundancy would receive a competitive redundancy package, including training and career counselling.

– with The Age