Is there still hope? Electrolux management may get cold feet after coup in Thailand

STILL HOPE: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) western region organiser Alan Haynes is hoping for an about turn on Electrolux’s closure.

STILL HOPE: Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) western region organiser Alan Haynes is hoping for an about turn on Electrolux’s closure.

POLITICAL unrest in Thailand may prompt Electrolux management to rethink plans to close its Orange plant and expand its operations in Thailand, according to Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) western region organiser Alan Haynes.

Mr Haynes said this week’s coup will make Thailand less attractive to foreign investors.

“The Electrolux board would be feeling very nervous about future operations in Thailand,” Mr Haynes said.

“Australia is a politically and economically stable country, the workforce is already here (at Electrolux in Orange), and it was a profitable plant even during the GFC (global financial crisis).”

Mr Haynes said while it may cost more to manufacture products in Australia, now was the time for Electrolux management to weigh up the pros and cons.

“We’d like to see them reverse their decision, “ he said.

Mr Haynes said he hopes to meet with Electrolux management next week to not only talk about ongoing wage negotiations but to discuss keeping the factory opened.

“We want to sit down with Electrolux and do what ever we have to do, within reason, to make it happen.”

Mr Haynes said the logistics of building a new operation in a country that’s in political turmoil didn’t make sense considering the Orange plant was still fully operational.

“We think there’s every chance that it [the closure] won’t happen or it will be delayed,” he said.

“Thailand could end up in civil war and I’d hate to see that happen but if it does it will make it very difficult to get product out of Thailand,” he said.

Electrolux corporate communications consultant Craig McCarthy said:"Our first priority is always to ensure the safety of our employees. In the case of Thailand, we are closely monitoring the situation and will adapt the day-to-day business as necessary. 

“However, the political unrest over the past few years has not affected our operations and we do not have any indication that recent events would change this long-term pattern."  

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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