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About 140 jobs go at Adelaide manufacturer

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UPDATED: Adelaide car component company SMR has confirmed about 140 jobs will go after it lost a major export contract with Ford. 

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A spokesman for SMR told InDaily at least 30 full-time and 100 contractors would be offered voluntary redundancies by the end of March this year.

SMR’s general manager operations John Scott said by the end of 2017 there would be no domestic automotive industry in Australia and the company had been forced to modify its business, with job losses a part of the ongoing business strategy.

“This restructure is necessary in SMRA’s transition from being a manufacturer of high volume, more conventional products to a provider of lower volume, niche products offering new technologies and higher innovation,” Scott said.

“Changes to our workforce are a vital part of this strategy and our ongoing viability.

“While any reduction in the number of roles at the site is regrettable, the reality is that the decision is unavoidable and has been openly communicated to our staff and contractors.

“As a company we must evolve or cease to exist, it’s as simple as that.”

The job losses will reduce SMR’s total workforce from 560 to 420.

SA Automotive Transformation, Manufacturing and Innovation Minister Kyam Maher confirmed the loss of jobs and contract at the Lonsdale operations to InDaily this morning.

“The company has lost a major export contract to supply the next generation of Ford F250 mirrors to the United States,” he said.

“This is obviously a tough day for SMR employees, and our thoughts are with the workers and their families.”

Maher said the decision came after he had met with the company to discuss its positive future and its desire to diversify to survive in the withering Australian automotive industry.

“During my visits to the company, they’ve told me they’re looking at diversifying into areas like medical devices, and will continue to manufacture lighting components, exterior door handles, and fuel filler doors.

“The company is working to make sure it remains viable for the long term in South Australia.”

Federal Labor Member for Kingston Amanda Rishworth, whose area includes SMR, said the job losses were result of the sustained pressure on South Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry.

“The strain on South Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry as a result of the departure of car manufacturing in Australia is clearly showing,” she said.

“The Federal Government has a responsibility to support the state’s manufacturing industry to transition so it has a viable future.

“This is a difficult time for the affected workers and for their families and my thoughts are with them during this tough time,” she said.

Rishworth said state and federal governments needed to provided assistance to the sacked workers.

“It is important for the sake of affected employees that relevant government departments work together to support SMRA workers in transitioning to new employment.

“It is my understanding the company is working to make sure they are viable for the long term in South Australia and we need the Federal Government to work with them.”

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