False hope on Electrolux cuts no ice with union

ELECTROLUX’S head office gave workers at the Orange plant false hope in February when they were told the factory could survive beyond 2015 if it was competitive enough, according to Australian Workers’ Union organiser Alan Haynes.

Mr Haynes said the plant achieved the efficiency targets required, but the “foreign board” had gone back on its word.

“They want greater profits, they don’t care at whose expense,” he said.

“It’s a dark day for Orange, there will be hard times ahead ... but we will get through it.”

Business Enterprise Centre executive officer Bruce Buchanan said the plant’s closure would have a profound effect on the community, affecting direct and indirect employment.

He said the decision falls on the back of a tough time for the Orange economy with decreasing commodity prices already affecting the business community.

“That attractiveness of Orange for gainful employment takes a hit,” he said.

Orange Business Chamber president Tony Healey said the closure was devastating, but could be looked at as a positive to push for other companies to come to Orange and potentially use the vacant factory.

“It will have a big impact on the town,” he said.

“We’re lucky we do have mining ... the town will do its best to find jobs for all the employees.”

He said the chamber, council, Business Enterprise Centre, and Taste Orange would work together to try and attract more companies to Orange over the next 12 months while the plant winds down.

Mr Buchanan said the biggest hurdle to attracting other companies to Orange was the city’s water supply.

Mr Haynes said the union had already had talks with representatives from engineering and infrastructure management company Downer EDI representatives who indicated they would try and assist Electrolux workers to blend into the company’s empire, despite the future of its rail manufacturing plant in Bathurst hanging in the balance.

LED DOWN THE GARDEN PATH: Australian Workers’ Union organiser Alan Haynes.

LED DOWN THE GARDEN PATH: Australian Workers’ Union organiser Alan Haynes.