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Crippling strike is over

Hard time: Ford workers were stood down without pay since last Thursday.

Ford to resume production on Monday as Venture employees head back to work

30 Aug 2007

FORD Australia will resume production on Monday night after workers at a key supplier returned to work this afternoon.

The car-maker said it would have to wait until supply of the plastic components could be guaranteed before it fires up production at its Geelong and Campbellfield factories.

While it is expected that enough components could be supplied by Monday morning, Ford will not start production until the night shift begins at 11pm.

This is because Monday had been locked-in as a programmed day off (PDO) for day shift workers.

“The PDO has been scheduled for more than 12 months. We can’t change it as it is part of our workers entitlements,” said Ford Australia spokesman Edward Finn.

He said car production would not begin tomorrow because Ford had to be sure it would have enough parts from Venture as well as other suppliers who had been affected by the industrial action.

“We need to be 100 per cent sure that we have complete continuity and quality of supply to avoid any further disruptions,” he said.

Workers at Campbellfield’s Venture Industries walked off the job last Thursday morning and refused to return until the company agreed to honour their entitlements as the company prepared to cut staff numbers.

Venture management wrote an open letter promising entitlements would be honoured yesterday. Venture staff agreed to return to work, but demanded to see proof of entitlements being honoured within one week.

Ford Australia has been unable to produce any vehicles since supply of Venture parts dried up on Tuesday and will have lost an estimated production run of around 2400 Falcon and Territory models.

A lawyer representing the company told the Industrial Relations Commission that the strike was costing Ford $11 million a day.

About 1850 staff at Ford’s Geelong and Campbellfield plants had been stood down without pay since last Thursday.

Venture supplies more than 1500 parts to Ford Australia, including front bumpers, instrument panels, centre consoles and door panels.

Using the ‘just in time’ supply method, Ford no longer keeps a supply of components on site and is believed to have run out of Venture-supplied parts within 40 minutes of deliveries ceasing on Thursday morning.

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