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Holden workers extend strike to mid-week

Future is cast: Holden workers have extended strike action against the car-maker until Wednesday as a dispute over redundancy payments for engine plant workers escalates.

Workers extend strike action as unions lobby Canberra for support

Holden logo18 Nov 2013

HOLDEN workers at the car-maker’s Port Melbourne engine plant will remain on strike until at least Wednesday as unions try and strike a deal over redundancies with management.

Workers meet today for a vote on the next steps to take as they tangle with management over the redundancy provisions for about 30 workers who were not part of the car-maker’s voluntary job-shedding program The vote comes as representatives of federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane meet with lobbyists from car industry unions in Canberra today to hear their pitch for maintaining support of automotive manufacturing.

Workers walked out of the Port Melbourne engine plant on Thursday in support of staff members who will miss out on some entitlements compared to about 70 of their colleagues that get a more generous package as part of the voluntary redundancy program.

Workers said last week that they were frustrated after negotiations with the company before the Fair Work Commission failed to produce a result in a dispute over redundancy payments to 100 workers who left the company on Friday.

“They’re (Holden workers) not back until Wednesday,” Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Adrian Dodds told GoAuto after hearing of the decision to extend the strike action this morning.

Mr Dodd said it was now a time of “wait and see” while the Holden workers decided what steps to take next in their dispute with Holden.

The dispute escalates on a day that unions representing Victorian and South Australian car industry workers fly to Canberra to meet with government representatives and present their case for the industry’s long-term support.

AMWU South Australia secretary John Camillo said car industry workers were trying to be proactive about their future.

“They (Holden workers) are not going to sit on their hands and just wait on the decision from Detroit to say the plant’s going to close down at Elizabeth (in Adelaide),” Mr Camillo told ABC NewsRadio this morning.

“These workers say we need to do more than that, and so we are doorknocking in Canberra for those people who want to listen to the auto workers putting their case forward about why it is important to have the automotive industry in Australia,” he said.

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