UNION officials will travel to Orange on Tuesday to meet with Electrolux management over an investment study that will determine the future of 600 workers at the plant.
State representatives of the Australian Metal Workers Union (AMWU) will discuss the impact of the study on employees over the next six months, as they work to prove the Orange plant can remain viable.
“We hope to have an open dialogue with the union,” Electrolux corporate communications manager Craig McCarthy said.
Electrolux managing director John Brown delivered news of the study to employees last Thursday, that the factory had to prove it could compete with other manufacturing plants across the world, including Asia.
“We have not lost sight of the fact that Electrolux has been the heart and soul of Orange since World War II, with several generations of Orange residents working at the plant,” Mr McCarthy said.
He said if Tuesday’s production figures were any indication of the determination of workers to ensure the future of the plant, it was a positive sign.
“We beat our tally of 1400 fridges, with the figure reaching 1500,” he said.
However, he said Australian consumers were practical when it came to the purchase of white goods.
“If they can get a product from overseas that is cheaper, with other features they want, they will buy it,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said Orange workers were fiercely protective of the product they manufactured, which could be a lesson for consumers across the country, to choose an Australian-made product.
“I think the badging of our refrigerators, now with an Australian-made sticker, will help,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said the hotter-than-average Australian summer had delivered positive results for the Orange plant in the last couple of months, with production increasing.
“The weather may have been uncomfortable for some, but it has been very pleasing for the plant at Orange,” he said.