Mike Stevens | Mar 6, 2009

Holden and unions are discussing a plan that could see thousands of assembly and manufacturing workers rostered on for as little as three days a week – the likely less-attractive alternative being layoffs.

Industry Minister Kim Carr said the level of cooperation between Holden and the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) in dealing with the difficulties caused by the current slowing market, should be emulated by other companies and unions.

"The number one priority for workers now in terms of their negotiations is job security. Both companies and unions should approach this in a flexible manner," Mr Carr told The Age.

holden-production-assembly-line

Rotating shorter week shifts are part of the plan being discussed by the two sides, which would be on top of “non-production” days, for which workers usually receive a half-pay rate. Holden has 10 such days scheduled for April.

Holden is reportedly considering cutting its executives salaries, while Ford has also frozen the pay of its white-collar workers and senior managers.

AMWU’s federal vehicle secretary Ian Jones is confident that the two sides will reach a resolution in the next two weeks, with the ultimate goal being to have as many as possible of Holden’s workers still in a job by the end of the year.

Holden employs some 6500 people in Australia, 3500 of which are in manufacturing roles in Melbourne and Adelaide.

[The Age]

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