FIFTY-SEVEN families are facing financial hardship because of a decision by Nissan Casting Plant Australia to make their breadwinners redundant. The Dandenong South casting plant called for voluntary redundancies before Christmas to meet its revised employment targets. The global automotive industry downturn and the reducing demand for die-cast aluminium and transmission parts have been blamed for the staff cuts. Nissan Australia spokesman Jeff Fisher said that roughly half of those made redundant had done so voluntarily. “Each employee will receive a generous redundancy entitlement, which will include outplacement, job-seeking support and financial planning advice,” he said. “At this stage we do not see any more job cuts in the future. But it all depends on the economy and the demand for the automotive industry both here and overseas.”
Dan Thompson, Nissan Motor Co. (Australia) managing director, said there had been a lengthy program of cost-cutting and a business review but a global downturn in demand and intense pricing pressures had left management with no choice. “Over the past six months production volumes have dipped to an unsustainable level,” Mr Thompson said. “It should be emphasised this outcome is designed as a measure of last resort to protect the business against further losses.” The cuts come at a tough time for the automotive manufacturing industry. This month more than 160 jobs were at risk after Ford Credit Australia announced it was winding down part of its Australian operation. The news also follows the launch of a $6.7 million Victorian Government action plan to help the industry in early December. Victoria accounts for more than 60 per cent of the automotive manufacturing industry nationally, employing about 35,000 people.