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Most ex-Holden workers in worse jobs after factory closure: report

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Fewer than five per cent of ex-Holden workers have found equal or better jobs after being made redundant when the Elizabeth plant shut down, a State Government-commissioned report says.

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The seven-page report, released to InDaily today, says that although most former Holden workers found some kind of employment after losing their jobs, less than five per cent had found work with equal or better pay and conditions than at Holden.

The vast majority transitioned from what they considered to be secure, long-term employment with competitive pay and working conditions into lower-paid, less secure work, according to the report by AMWU Outreach Officer Denis Masters.

“This is a fact – less than five per cent of our members have entered into a new role that has the same or better working conditions or provides full-time employment with the same or better pay (and) conditions,” Masters writes.

“For those who have entered into full-time employment, we know that very few have reported to have better pay or working conditions that rival the automotive industry.

“Many auto workers who we have surveyed have expressed interest in attending a jobs expo and many of these people are employed in full-time roles.”

The report detailed the results of an outreach program aimed at helping workers retrain and get new work.

Of the 787 workers the AMWU were able to contact for the report:

“A great result to see as many as 76 per cent of the members contacted finding employment since their redundancy,” the report reads.

“The downside to the employment figure is we find only 34 per cent of those employed are in secure, full-time positions.”

According to Masters, “we have only successfully transitioned 41.9 per cent of our members” after redundancy.

“The rest are under employed, studying or not working at all. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Masters writes that most of the workers who found work after their redundancy were still looking for a new job thereafter “because they have taken the first job they could find, then (identified) what training or certificate they need for their next forever career job”.

But Innovation and Skills Minister David Pisoni, whose office released the report today, is looking on the bright side.

“The vast majority of former Holden workers have successfully made the transition to new jobs after the closure of the automotive manufacturer, and credit should be shared by the workers themselves for their resilience, as well as the manufacturing industry for stepping up and creating new opportunities for these workers,” said Pisoni in a statement to InDaily.

“It’s very encouraging to see the job opportunities that have been created in the past two years for former Holden workers, particularly in the defence sector, with work ramping up on the nation’s massive shipbuilding enterprise.”

AMWU state secretary Peter Bauer said there were major opportunities for ex-Holden workers’ skills to be used in the defence sector.

However he described the outcomes for ex-Holden workers detailed in the report as “disappointing”.

“We don’t share the optimism (about the findings) of the report that’s shared by the government.”

“We have only 34 per cent in secure work.

“It’s a very disappointing outcome.”

But Pisoni’s office also pointed to another report, the Acil Allen Transition of the Australian Car Manufacturing Sector report, completed in July this year, to demonstrate what it described as good employment outcomes.

That report, commissioned by the Federal Government, tracks outcomes from workers made redundant from Ford, Toyota and Holden across the country.

It says that 82 per cent of those people are now working – including 78 per cent in new employment and 4 per cent having started their own businesses.

Of those who took up new jobs, 53 per cent were full-time, 41 per cent were casual and 6 per cent were part-time.

Of the total, 84 per cent felt positive about their physical and mental health and 85 per cent said they were satisfied with their current salary.

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