Steane Klose | Mar 2, 2009

The impact of the global financial crisis continues to take its toll in the automotive arena, with the announcement today that Melbourne-based Robert Bosch will be axing up to 170 jobs.

The cuts are equal to around 12 percent of Robert Bosch’s local workforce.

"The major issues we are having are absolutely related to the reduction in vehicle sales globally. What we are noticing is that whilst vehicle sales are perhaps down by 15 per cent, components are down by closer to 35-40 per cent," Robert Bosch executive Gavin Smith said.

Robert Bosch also produces goods that are not motor vehicle related, including hot water systems and home appliances, however its Melbourne factory is largely geared to the production of car parts.

As such, the redundancies will affect mainly those workers working in the fuel components, chassis systems and automotive electronics divisions.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has been keeping a close eye on the situation at Robert Bosch and claims that workers have tried to compromise in order to avoid job losses.

"They asked the workers to start working week-on, week-off. We had a commission hearing about this, because it was completely untenable for people," AMWU organiser Ian Thomas said.

Mr Thomas said that workers had offered to take a fifty percent pay-cut in some weeks and cash in their annual leave or long service leave to add to their reduced incomes.

According to a representative of Robert Bosch, the company did not want to lay off the workers, but found the union to be increasingly difficult to negotiate with.

The AMWU claims that Robert Bosch is a profitable business that does not need to retrench staff. Mr Smith however said that no-one in the automotive industry is having any fun, and that the union does not know if Robert Bosch is making a profit or not as they have not seen the books.

[Source: Herald Sun]

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