Govt plan for auto workers' future "a mess": union
The AMWU has blasted the federal and Victorian Coalition governments for deliberately stalling car industry job assistance as the clock ticks down to thousands of redundancies.
The union said the Abbott government's failure to finalise any plan for the $100 million it promised to prepare for Holden's closure proved it regarded the future of 50,000 car industry workers as a rock-bottom priority.
A pair of reviews of the Victorian and South Australian economies done by MPs for the government's self-imposed March deadline are ready but have been put on the backburner by the Abbott Cabinet and withheld in each state.
The AMWU has written to both the Federal and Victorian governments demanding action, as Holden and Toyota will not make funding commitments on re-training or business support until they get clarity on where taxpayer funding is going.
"The promise of $100 million for the Holden impact is hopelessly inadequate, but now the Prime Minister has shoved it to one side," said AMWU National Vehicles Secretary Dave Smith.
"South Australia has been held up by an election, but that doesn't excuse the Coalition for not going ahead with plans for their $60 million federally and the $12 million from Victoria.
"Instead we have a hotch-potch of incomplete federal-state plans for thousands of workers at Holden and Ford with reports suppressed and major players kept in the dark – it's a mess."
Victoria faces enormous problems, with Holden's engine plant due to close in 2016 and Toyota to shed 2500 jobs in 2017, making it imperative that training and job plans be brought forward.
Even more urgent is the fate of 300 Ford workers due to be made redundant in two months.
AMWU Victorian Vehicles Secretary Paul Difelice attacked Premier Denis Napthine for playing "political football" with the lives of workers who desperately need to know what jobs are available in Melbourne's northern region.
The Victorian government is withholding details on which companies will share $50 million in regional Innovation and Investment Funds split equally between Melbourne's north and Geelong to compensate for the Ford job losses.
"Instead of releasing this to the community, to Ford, the Premier is deliberately dribbling out jobs announcements one by one so he can milk it for political advantage in the months to November's state election," Difelice said.
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