||Issue No. 263||13 May 2005|
A Fistful of Dollars
Interview: Fortress NSW
Unions: Fashions Afield
Industrial: Pay Dirt
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Big Day Out
International: Making History
Economics: The Fear Factor
Review: The Robots Revolt
Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The Locker Room
Bosses Play China Card
Auto component manufacturers, Tri Star and Spicer Axle, have targeted 800 employees for the dole queue and at least two other manufacturers, employing more than 600 people, say job losses are inevitable.
US-owned Spicer Axel has hit the AMWU with demands for sweeping cuts in order to retain some of its Yennora workforce.
Spicer is demanding 15% clawbacks for existing employees and wants rates for new starters slashed by 20 percent. The company, which manufactures components for Holden, Ford and Aston Martin, employs more than 1000 people around Australia.
AMWU organiser, Martin Shutz, says Spicer's claim would mean weekly wage cuts of between $75 and $150 a week for the families of process workers with dependents of skilled trades people losing up to $250 a week.
Yennora workers have been caught in a John Howard pincer movement. Free trade deals with both China and the US have flooded the market with low cost alternatives.
Spicer has lost its contract to supply Holden and, as a result, will bullet 200 employees from April, next year.
It says Ford is demanding 30 percent price reductions in light of the impending free trade agreement with China.
Marrickville based Tri Star has lost steering and suspension contracts with Mitsubishi, Toyota and Holden. It has started imported product from India and is negotiating to open a plant in China from which it will import components.
Tri Star began shedding staff, last week, and intends closing down within 12 months.
AMWU state secretary, Paul Bastian, said the job losses were the "deliberate and inevitable" result of Howard's push for free trade with China.
"These companies are classic examples of what happens when you sign free trade agreements that aren't underpinned by basic labour or human rights," Bastian said.
"John Howard is telling Australians to compete on labour costs, with an economy where core standards do not apply. There is no level playing field."
Bastian rejected massive wage cuts as a way to protect auto component jobs.
"We don't accept workers should bare the brunt of bad government policy," he said. "Our members won't allow a company to use that situation to start driving down wages and conditions across the board."
Workers Online understands two other major NSW manufacturing operations have approached unions about sweeping job cuts because of the effect of free trade agreements.
One of them is believed to be an innovative operation that spends large sums on research and development.
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