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 As the Australian economy continues to restructure in the shadow of China’s economic growth, uncertainty in Europe and the US, Australian manufacturing employees lose their jobs…hoping that the new economy creates them real, sustainable jobs…

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April 26, 2012 – 2:31PM

Ford will close its Australian car-making operations for almost a week following the appointment of administrators at parts manufacturer CMI Industrial. Ford says production will cease at the close of business today and not resume until next Wednesday. About 1800 workers will be stood down at the Broadmeadows and Geelong plants tomorrow and Tuesday next week, while a rostered day off will go ahead as scheduled on Monday.

 The company says Friday and Tuesday workers will still be to be paid 50 per cent of their wages, which they can top up with annual leave. Ford says it believes it will take CMI administrators several days to stabilise the business and resume production, and it would then be 24 hours before parts are available to Ford. CMI Industrial has been handed over to voluntary administrators Grant Thornton, and receivers McGrathNicol.

Workers at the car parts factory that supplies Ford with crucial suspension components were this morning locked out of CMI Industrial’s Campbellfield workplace for a fourth day. Ford Australia had said that it would be forced to start standing down workers later today if the production line at the factory could not be restarted by tonight.

Employees of CMI Industrial, which makes parts for Ford Falcons, met outside their factory this morning and were told the company was likely to go into administration today. Shop steward Keith Thomas, who has worked at CMI for the past 16 years, this morning said workers had been turning up to CMI Industrial every day since its gates were locked last Thursday.

“We’ve showed up here last Thursday morning and the security guards were here,” said Mr Thomas, who is one of 80 employees to gather outside the factory this morning for a briefing from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. “We’ve all rolled up to work this morning, and we’ve been doing it since last week. This whole thing is not our fault. Tomorrow we come back here and hopefully it is better tomorrow than today,” Mr Thomas said.

For the past three years, some workers at CMI Industrial have been working four days a week because of money shortages at the company. CMI Industrial’s management has not paid all of its rent since December, and the landlord of the Campbellfield factory changed the locks last week and refused to let management in. The landlord is believed to be owed $116,000.

The shutdown has had a flow-on effect to all of CMI Industrial’s five businesses, which ultimately employ 446 people across Australia. Ms Phipps said this week that Ford would be forced to stand down workers from this evening if CMI Industrial and the company it supplies, Dana Australia, cannot continue to deliver parts.

Leigh Diehm of the AMWU said workers would continue to keep turning up each morning in the hope that CMI Industrial would re-open. He said CMI Industrial had a solid financial future, once it had worked through its current money problems.

“The company will be going into administration this morning,” the AMWU’s Leigh Diehm said at the factory this morning. “We’ve got workers out here who haven’t been paid superannuation for 10 months. “They are pretty well devastated. They are very unsure of what this means for their futures.”

CMI Industrial owner Max Hofmeister could not be reached for comment this morning. He is believed to be in Queensland.

http://theage.drive.com.au/motor-news/ford-workers-stood-down-20120426-1xm9s.html

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