Ford starts axing staff at Aussie plants

Ford is sacking workers as sales of big cars like the Falcon disappear. Photo / Supplied
Ford is sacking workers as sales of big cars like the Falcon disappear. Photo / Supplied

The first Ford factory workers have emerged from nerve-racking meetings with the company, but even those who have kept their jobs say watching others get the sack has been devastating.

Ford is axing 212 jobs at Victoria's Geelong and Broadmeadows plants due to a slump in large car sales and a production reduction.

Both plants are shut on Friday as one-on-one meetings continue with employees to let them know who will be going home without a job.

A Ford assembly plant worker, who emerged from his own meeting in Broadmeadows having kept his job, said it had been an anxious wait and his thoughts were still with his colleagues.

"This is devastating," said the worker, who didn't want to be identified, as his co-workers were sacked.

"We're losing a lot of good people.

"We're here for moral support for our friends. We're like a family here."

The worker criticised the company for keeping workers in limbo after the cuts were first announced in July.

"You couldn't plan for anything in the future because you didn't know if you had your job or not. You were basically left in limbo waiting, waiting, waiting, (thinking) am I safe?

"Now, unfortunately you find out in five minutes and your whole life is changed."

He said Ford staff were respectful in the meeting but he was unhappy with the company apparently targeting assembly plant workers.

"It seems as if this process affected guys on the floor and no one in the office or head office."

Ford announced in July it would axe 440 jobs at the two plants by November due to a slump in large car sales and a production reduction. But redeployment, in-house transfers and 118 voluntary redundancies mean 212 will be axed on Friday.

Those workers will be provided with employment support paid for by Ford.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesman Dave Smith says he is satisfied with how the car maker has handled the difficult process.

"They've given everyone interview times and they'll come in and they'll be told whether they have a job or not," the national secretary of the AMWU vehicle division said.

He said all levels of government should do more to support automotive jobs.

- AAP

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