GM-Holden announced that it will be cutting 400 workers from its force at the Elizabeth plant outside of Adelaide, while another 100 jobs will be slashed from the engineering facility in Melbourne. The losses follow the slashing of 180 jobs in Elizabeth back in November of 2012, and another 40 jobs at the Port Melbourne engine plant last month. The most recent cutbacks take the Holden factory workforce down to 1,750 jobs, while engineering will shrink to 575 positions.
Perhaps what’s even more sobering is the fact that the announcement comes in just one week after Holden released figures that showed it had received $2.17 billion in government funding over the past 12 years, which equates to roughly twice as much as what Ford ($1.1 billion) and Toyota ($1.2 billion) received over the same time period, according to The Daily Telegraph. Holden states that the latest wave of cuts is due to due a drop in demand for its locally made Cruze, and a strong Australian dollar. In fact, Holden officials state that if the Australian dollar would lose 20 percent of its value, or if the U.S. dollar regained some of its might, domestic production would double because it would be able to affordably export its vehicles, such as the Australian-made Chevrolet SS. However, both currency scenarios seem highly unlikely at the time.
With the restructuring in its labor force, Holden plans to build 350 cars per day per eight-hour shift starting August 2013, a reduction from the 400 cars a day it currently builds at the same rate.