#Ford workers stood down as parts supplier pushed into receivership | #Ausunions
FORD Australia has stood down its entire Victorian workforce for almost a week because of a dispute between one of its suppliers and their landlord over unpaid rent.
CMI Industrial, which supplies suspension and other parts to the car maker, was yesterday pushed into receivership by Ford, which it also owed money.
CMI Industrial’s landlord locked the company out of its Campbellfield factory on Friday, and handed owner Max Hofmeister a bill for $116,000 in unpaid rent.
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Keith Thomas has worked at CMI for 16 years. Photo: Penny Stephens
The bill was not paid, leaving an uncertain future for the 80 workers at CMI’s Campbellfield production line and hundreds of other workers employed at its other factories.
And, with the firm now forced into receivership by Ford, the car maker has shut its plant next door until Wednesday. It hopes CMI Industrial can be up and running by then.
Ford has brought forward down days planned for June, minimising employees’ loss of wages.
Production at Ford’s Broadmeadows and Geelong plants ceased last night, affecting 1800 workers.
Ford spokeswoman Sinead Phipps said the plan in having receivers appointed was to get staff back to work at both CMI Industrial and at Ford, while a long-term strategy at the supplier was devised.
McGrathNicol have been appointed receivers and managers of the manufacturer’s factories in Campbellfield, West Footscray, Ballarat and Horsham.
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said he believed CMI Industrial could remain a viable business if it was restructured. He said the nation’s automotive industry was being buffeted by the high Australian dollar. And he warned that Tony Abbott and the federal coalition appeared to have no plan for Australia’s struggling automotive sector.
Opposition spokesman Eric Abetz hit back, saying that if Mr Shorten wanted to help the industry he should push for the repeal of the carbon tax.
CMI Industrial employees turned up for work again yesterday morning, to once more find the gates locked by the property’s owner.
Keith Thomas has worked at CMI Industrial for 16 years, and said workers had been turning up ready for work every day since its gates were locked last week. ”This whole thing is not our fault,” he said.
CMI Industrial owner Mr Hofmeister could not be reached for comment yesterday. He is understood to be in Queensland.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union represents employees at both CMI Industrial and Ford Australia. Its Victorian state secretary, Steve Dargavel, said it was likely some workers at CMI Industrial would be sacked. ”The receivers have not advised us how many people they intend to terminate,” he said.
McGrathNicol spokesman Nick Maher yesterday could not say what financial issues faced the company, how much it owed debtors or why the company was in trouble.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ford-workers-stood-down-as-parts-supplier-p…