THERE were mixed emotions at Wangarang Industries on Tuesday when a 52-year partnership with Orange's whitegoods factory came to an end.
With the last refrigerator due to roll off the production line next Tuesday, it was time for Electrolux workers and Wangarang’s supported employees to say goodbye at a lunch hosted by the disability enterprise.
“At one stage Electrolux was responsible for 90 per cent of our income and they have made a huge contribution to our organisation,” Wangarang general manager Kevin McGuire said.
“Over the years they have even helped us make the jigs (models) needed to produce some of the items, it’s been a wonderful collaboration.”
He said the staged closure of the plant had helped with the transition for Wangarang to diversify and attract more contracts.
“That really began when some of the component assembly went offshore,” he said.
The idea to host a barbecue to thank Electrolux workers came from long-term Wangarang employee Marie Robinson.
Electrolux supply chain manager Steve Brakenridge praised the workers at Wangarang.
“On behalf of Electrolux we would like to thank you enormously for the effort you have put into the plant and you should feel proud of an outstanding contribution,” he said.
“The quality of your work has been very, very good.”
In a spontaneous and emotional display of appreciation, several Wangarang employees stood and thanked the group of Electrolux workers who attended the barbecue.
“We have liked doing the work you have given us,” Richard Davis said.
Wangarang employees Craig Woodley, Anthony Banks and Jeremy Zelukovic followed with heartfelt thanks.
Marie Robinson went one step further.
“I want to thank you on behalf of all the people who used to work here and are no longer with us. We have all tried hard for you and really enjoyed it,” she said.
Mr Brakenridge presented Wangarang with a Certificate of Appreciation, which Mr McGuire said would be proudly displayed in the workshop.
“This is the end of an era, but on behalf of Wangarang we want to thank you all and Electrolux management who made the decision to keep supporting us,” Mr McGuire said.