THE community of Orange will think far more kindly of the local management of Electrolux than they ever will of the board back in Stockholm after the global whitegoods manufacturer blindsided workers and all levels of government who have worked in good faith to keep the iconic plant open.
There was justifiable anger at the announcement yesterday that the plant would shut down at the end of 2015 when it became obvious Electrolux’s head office had all but made up its mind about the future of 540 jobs months ago.
Tripling output to one million units a year was a benchmark Orange was probably never going to meet and would have required the plant to not only slash its production costs but find ways to export refrigerators far beyond Australasia where it already has a market presence.
Member for Calare John Cobb for one got it right when he said Orange had “been had”.
The reluctance of Electrolux in Sweden to give the federal government until December to consider its business plan is now understandable.
So too the fact that neither $3 million in payroll tax relief and other state funds plus a $1 million grant from Orange City Council generated much interest from the Swedes.
It seems that only a massively bigger output, generated by workers on a 10th of the wages of the Orange plant, was going to satisfy Stockholm.
The decision is tough news indeed for over 500 workers and their families and for hundreds of others whose jobs are directly and indirectly reliant on Electrolux.
The only saving grace is that the workers have two years to plan their futures without Electrolux, as does the city.
This will mean helping some older staff plan for retirement and other younger ones transition to other jobs.
The latter will be tough for those without trades but they should not face that challenge alone.
The company and the city that generations of workers have given so much to over more than 70 years deserve that and so much more.