Ford Australia will today stand down 212 manufacturing workers as part of its first compulsory redundancy program in more than a decade.
Today's job cuts come four months after Ford originally announced it was axing 440 employees from its Broadmeadows vehicle assembly plant and Geelong engine factory due to challenging economic conditions and a diminishing demand for its Ford Falcon large car.
Ford Australia managed to reduce the total number of job losses to 330 through redeployment and other in-sourcing opportunities within the business.
Those 330 redundancies were offered on a voluntary basis to workers content with leaving the company, although with only approximately 118 employees taking up the offer, Ford will today have to sack around 212 workers who wanted to remain with the local car maker.
In a statement, Ford Australia admitted today would be “a very difficult day for the entire Ford team”, but insisted it had a plan in place to ensure the process was conducted as professionally and sensitively as possible.
“Our goal … is to implement this program in as dignified and caring a manner as possible and not single out those who are leaving our business compared to those who are remaining,” the statement explains.
Today has been scheduled as a non-production day for Ford Australia, meaning no workers will be required to show up for their usual shift.
All workers, including those remaining with Ford, will have an individual appointment today where they will learn if they are staying or will be forced to leave.
The 212 employees handed forced redundancy packages will receive information on their benefits, including retraining and financial counselling, before being asked to leave the company immediately.
The workers remaining with the company will also receive an information pack in an identical envelope to ensure that those leaving the business are not singled out.
Ford is determined to avoid a repeat of the events surrounding the sacking of 350 Toyota Australia employees in April this year, where the workers given compulsory redundancy packages were escorted from the site by security guards in a display the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union labelled a “disgrace”.
The 330 job cuts at Ford reduce the Victorian car maker’s manufacturing workforce to just shy of 1500 employees. Production of the Falcon sedan and ute and Territory SUV will be wound back 30 per cent from 209 vehicles per day to 148 in alignment with the condensed workforce.
Once Australia’s most popular car, the Falcon will limp to record low sales this year. With just 11,719 Falcon sedans delivered across Australia to the end of October, Ford Australia is set to sell little more than 14,000 examples of its traditional family car in 2012.
Sales have fallen 26 per cent so far this year as buyers continue to desert large cars in favour of small cars and SUVs.
The Territory has been a shining light for Ford Australia. With sales up 16 per cent to 12,459 units, the large SUV is on track to outsell the Falcon for the first time in history across a calendar year in 2012.
Ford Australia will continue to produce the Falcon until at least the end of 2016, but has made no commitment to local manufacturing beyond that point.