Holden to Cut Manufacturing Jobs?

Parliament erupts with Holden job-cut speculation despite ink only just drying on latest $275 billion taxpayer bailout

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill yesterday refused to tell Parliament how many jobs will be cut at Holden’s Elizabeth car manufacturing plant.

Holden won’t tell opposition leader Isobel Redmond how many jobs will go – and Jay Weatherill won’t tell the public, which footed the bail-out bill: “[I won’t] put in the public sphere any material that Holden has not,” he said. “We are not going to undermine [Holden’s] competitive position with those that would seek to have this information by putting any information in the public sphere that [Holden is] not prepared to put in the public sphere.

“We have, of course, the commitment not to close Holden, an absolutely crucial commitment. The commitment that Holden has given and the point [it has] made to us is that [it] cannot forecast the future growth or otherwise of their operations here in Australia.”

If they sound like politician’s weasel-words, and they feel like politician’s weasel-words … I guess it’s a good thing you didn’t step in them.

Commenting yesterday on a recent briefing to her by Holden, Ms Redmond said: “The briefing disclosed that there is no actual agreement in place since there has only been an exchange of letters between the Weatherill Labour Government and Holden. The deal is being negotiated.”

If what Ms Redmond says is true, the so-called “ironclad” caveats Holden and the SA Government both claim underpin the latest taxpayer-funded Holden prop-up is nothing more than a good old boy’s handshake agreement cloaked in the guise of a convenient ‘commercial in confidence’ arrangement guaranteed to keep it forever out of the public domain.

Significantly, Holden’s 22 March press release titled Next Generation Holden Manufacturing Secured made no reference whatsoever to jobs or job security at Holden.