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Foundry Daily News

25. February 2009

AUS - Ford wants to sell foundry

The company yesterday confirmed it is in negotiations with an organisation interested in taking over the foundry, which employs 200 people. Ford Australia public affairs manager Sinead McAlary yesterday said she could not name the company that Ford was negotiating with. "We have confirmed for our employees and our unions that we are investigating options for our casting operations in Geelong," Ms McAlary said. "As part of that process, we are in discussions with a company that has indicated a potential interest in taking on that business and growing it further," she said. But sources close to the issue yesterday said there were a range of concerns foundry workers had regarding the possible sale. Among those was the possibility employees who change to a new company would have to re-negotiate entitlements due to a twilight clause in contracts. It is also understood unions yesterday met with Ford to press a broad claim for foundry workers asking for the same closure money they would have received had the plant closed down last year. "If they start at a new company, they should be able to start afresh after receiving all the benefits that are due to them from Ford," one source said. Sources also expressed a concern that the Geelong Investment and Innovation Fund - set up to encourage new industries in the wake of Ford cutbacks in 2007 - would be handing cash to a company looking to instead buy parts of Ford. Both the State and Federal Governments and Ford contribute to the $24 million fund, which was intended to act as a bait to lure job-heavy industries to Geelong. "This was meant to encourage investment, not help break up Ford," one source said. Ms McAlary could not confirm whether the unnamed company was applying for cash to help buy the foundry. "As we're still in the discussion phase, it's not appropriate for me to comment further about the company or any of their finance arrangements," she said. But one source said the Government had a responsibility to stand by the workers. "Ford have been given a fair bit of money from the federal and state governments since operations opened. It is interesting to see them get money and outsource - that seems like double dipping."

 

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