ACTU says workers' entitlements still a big problem

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ACTU says workers' entitlements still a big problem

The ACTU has blamed uncertainty over workers' entitlements and the 'just in time' manufacturing system for the current strike at two car components plants in Victoria.

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The ACTU has blamed uncertainty over workers' entitlements and the 'just in time' manufacturing system for the current strike at two car components plants in Victoria.

The 11 day strike by more than 500 employees at Empire Rubber sites ended this morning after a deal between the parent company, Huon, and vehicle manufacturers. Empire Rubber is currently in receivership.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said a broken Federal Government promise to protect employee entitlements and just-in-time production methods by car manufacturers are at the root of job insecurity in Australia's car parts industry.

'It is now five years after the Ansett collapse when the Prime Minister Howard was forced to step in and promise to protect the minimum entitlements of employees in company collapses,' Burrow said.

Not secure

'And yet the ACTU asks why the redundancy pay and entitlements of workers at the Empire Rubber auto parts factory are still not secure?'

Burrow said it is essential that the Federal Government fix up problems in its safety net entitlement scheme (GEERS) so that workers, like those at Empire Rubber, are properly protected when companies collapse or go into administration.

'The big car manufacturers receive a lot of subsidies from the taxpayer - they should also be required to help keep jobs in the local parts industry by increasing the length of their forward contracts and paying fair prices to suppliers,' she said.

'Just-in-time production methods by major manufacturers such as Toyota, Holden and Ford are also putting more and more pressure on small auto component makers such as Empire Rubber.

Supply contracts

'It is very difficult to manage a company that has hundreds of employees when your clients refuse to enter into a supply contract beyond one or two months in advance.

'In this economic environment it is essential that companies make proper provision for all employee entitlements and redundancy pay as they go.'

Related

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