Toyota slashes 350 jobs; another 3,000 are at risk
January bloomed bright for the Australian manufacturing industry, whose 2.4 point increase on the Performance of Manufacturing Index at the end of last year suggested industry expansion in the near future.
Unfortunately, the uptick may have been the last bit of good news for the industry: Toyota Australia cut 350 workers from its Melbourne manufacturing plant yesterday, and another 3,000 automotive industry jobs are at risk of being made redundant, according to the Herald Sun.
“This is the beginning of the end of the manufacturing industry in Australia,” Australian Manufacturing Workers Union representative Charlie Marmara told the newspaper.
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According to reports released this morning by Nine MSN, the rising Aussie dollar and declining demand contributed to Toyota’s decision to slash jobs at the plant. In Victoria, the manufacturing industry employs approximately 300,000 people.
As Pricewaterhouse Coopers spokesman Peter Le Huray advised when the Index results were released, Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu is urging Australians to not simply write off the nation’s industry: "If we overreact now and say goodbye to the components and manufacturing industry, when the dollar shifts back and we find that imports increase in price again we'll be saying `well, where are our local manufacturers', and I don't want to be in that situation,” he told Nine.
The Federal Government has funded two previous projects at the Altona Toyota plant, but according to Toyota spokesman Glenn Campbell, the company is not asking for financial help this time.
“We are taking control of our business and we are seeking to rebuild the foundation of our business,” Campbell told the Herald Sun.
The Victoria Government has offered assistance through Skills Victoria to those workers affected by the plant’s downsize.