"First and foremost, I would like to thank Holden’s workforce for their loyalty and flexibility," said Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux. "Changes like this are never easy and the ‘yes’ vote is a huge commitment from the hard-working men and women of our Holden team.
"These labour-related cost savings and productivity improvements are crucial to putting our Elizabeth manufacturing facility on a path to global competitiveness.
"Australia is a high-cost country; not just for making cars but for making anything. It was critical that we reduced our costs and delivered flexible and contemporary work arrangements."
Holden, the unions and employee representatives worked together closely to develop the variation, with the overarching goal to achieve the necessary savings and flexibilities while minimising the impact to employees.
This variation will realise significant cost benefits for Holden’s Elizabeth plant (Adelaide, South Australia) from the time it comes into effect. By the commencement of the Next Generation vehicle program, this variation will have improved the cost competiveness of Holden’s Vehicle Operations facility by approximately $15 million per year.
The variation will only come into effect once the Next Generation vehicle program is confirmed for Holden’s Elizabeth plant.
"We can’t survive as a local manufacturer unless we reduce our costs by being as efficient and globally competitive as possible," commented Mr Devereux. "There are some tough measures in this variation but the unions and our people recognise this difficult situation and have responded in kind."
Over the past two years Holden has made numerous changes across the business to reduce costs and better position itself in the market. This has included production-line efficiency improvements at our Elizabeth plant and making significant investments in Holden’s Australian made cars.
Holden has also aggressively priced and marketed its cars to compete against imports which benefit from the high Australian dollar and the country’s internationally low tariff levels.
Australians vote every month with their purchasing decisions and consistently make Holden’s locally produced Cruze and Commodore models two of the top 10 cars sold in the country.
"We are clearly producing the types of cars that Australians want to buy," said Mr Devereux.
"But Holden has to be globally competitive and so does the country’s industry policy. As a local manufacturer, Holden is asking for a fair go. Australia must be able to compete fairly on the world stage.
"We need clear, consistent and globally competitive government policy to help secure a long-term future for automotive manufacturing," Mr Devereux said.