Downturn in global car industry to blame for glass job losses

The Geelong Advertiser’s Julie McNamara quizzed CSR building products chief operating officer John Hodgkinson hours after he told 115 automotive glass production workers their jobs would be made redundant in June.

Mr. Hodgkinson said although news the Geelong and Laverton glass production facilities was not a great surprise for workers, it was still a tough task to deliver the news.

Q:  What are the prospects of Viridian employees being re-employed in any similar trade?


A:  “CSR will be looking to try and place some of those people in its other businesses and will also be working with them on out-placement and trade training for alternate jobs.”

 Q:  What is the package the workers are getting?

 A:  “There’s an agreed redundancy announcement which is fair and appropriate. On top of that we will offer out-placement, trade training and financial planning assistance. It’s  a very fair approach and effectively they’ve been given six months notice.”

 Q:  How was the bad news broken to the workers?

 A:  “We spoke to the employees this morning at the time. It was the manager here, myself and a number of other people. We addressed their questions and there will be ongoing discussions, probably on a weekly basis, until the plants close.”

 Q:  Was breaking the news to 115 people that they had lost their jobs the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do in your life?

 A:  “These things are never easy but it’s an unfortunate fact of life when a business is not economically viable.”

 Q:  Did the workers suspect that their jobs could be in jeopardy?

 A:  “There were no surprises here. This business has been in decline for quite some time and globally the car industry is struggling so I don’t think there were any surprises”.

 Q:  What were the events which led to the decision to cease production of automotive glass? Did Viridian lose a number of contracts with car manufacturers? If so, who were they?

 A:  “The issue is that the global car industry is in very serious trouble. It’s affecting all the suppliers and we weren’t exempt. The Australian contribution for automotives has dropped from 80 per cent to 20 per cent in the last 10 years so it’s been a gradual decline but it’s really been exacerbated in the last 12 months.”

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600450 Downturn in global car industry to blame for glass job losses
Date: 30 January 2009

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