On the Holden assembly line in Adelaide. Photo: David Mariuz
Car industry workers will go to Canberra next week to lobby MPs over the future of the auto industry in Australia.
About 25 workers from the manufacturing and components sector across Adelaide and Melbourne are expected to meet Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and others on Monday and Tuesday.
They may also meet Treasurer Joe Hockey and federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The delegation comes as Holden workers in Melbourne remained on strike for a second day on Friday over redundancy conditions for 30 workers facing the sack.
The striking workers are expected to return to work on Monday.
The talks in Canberra next week are designed to give workers a chance to explain to politicians the impacts of winding back the car industry on their livelihoods and families.
There is uncertainty over the future of car manufacturing in Australia beyond 2016, with Ford ceasing local production and Holden wanting government funding guarantees before committing to staying.
”I want workers to explain to pollies what the closure would mean on the economy, to their community and to their families,” said the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s John Camillo, who is helping to organise the talks.
The federal government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine subsidies to the automotive industry.
The commission is expected to produce an interim report before Christmas, and a final report by late March.
A spokesman for Holden said that talks between the company and the Abbott government were continuing over future funding.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Holden engine plant workers in Melbourne remained on strike on Friday, over a fight with management on redundancy conditions for the 30 workers the car maker plans to sack.
About 200 staff who work at Holden’s Fishermans Bend plant walked off the job on Thursday morning over an argument with the car maker on the redundancy payments.
Only a handful of employees returned to work on Friday, following the ”wildcat” industrial action that saw staff march off the job with little warning.
Holden managers and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spent much of Friday at the Fair Work Commission arguing over the redundancy payment to the 30 workers.
Earlier this year, Holden offered 100 employees voluntary redundancy but only 70 took up the offer, leaving 30 facing forced redundancies.
The existing enterprise agreement does not dictate payout terms for forced redundancies, and the company had proposed lower payments to those being sacked – angering staff.
The talks at the commission failed to resolve the dispute, but a further meeting between Holden, staff and the union is scheduled for Sunday.