union officials representing workers at the Electrolux plant met with management yesterday saying their workers are angry and disappointed and will start a series of stop work meetings next week over the proposed shutdown of the Orange plant in 2016.
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union NSW secretary Tim Ayres said he believes there will be no brand loyalty towards Electrolux products for Orange residents and Australia as a whole and the brand will be adversely impacted as a result of the impending closure of the Orange plant.
“As far as we [the union] are concerned this is a bad decision made with reckless vandalism,” he said.
He said Electrolux’s decision to move the refrigeration production to Thailand is hard to stomach in view of the proven record and profitability of the Orange plant.
“This is just a grab for higher profits while extorting lower rates from employees with a decrease in quality,” Mr Ayres said.
He said the company will pay workers in Thailand just $3 an hour to produce fridges and freezers compared to the wages paid to Orange workers.
“They’re [Orange workers] paid in the mid 20s per hour - that’s a big difference,” he said.
Speaking outside the plant yesterday Mr Ayres said he is calling on politicians to acknowledge there is a jobs crisis in Orange and the central west.
“None of the local members are losing their jobs and we want something delivered that is more than rhetoric,” Mr Ayres said.
He also accused Prime Minister Tony Abott of failing to protect the jobs of workers at Simplot in Bathurst, Electrolux in Orange and other areas of the central west.
“There are 1000 jobs going in the region and we are saying there is a big gap between political rhetoric and hard work to shore up jobs,” he said.
Mr Ayres said he is calling on politicians and local government representatives to use the model of the BHP shutdown in Newcastle as a model to which to aspire to ensure a future for the Orange workers affected by job losses.