Ford Halts Work at Australian Plants

Supplier goes into receivership

After one of its parts manufacturers was placed into receivership, Ford ( IW 1000/16) said it was halting work at its two Australian plants for almost a week.

The move affects some 1,800 workers at its Geelong and Broadmeadows factories in Victoria. Ford spokeswoman Sinead Phipps said production would cease at the close of business on April 26 and not resume until next May 2.

"Obviously the whole process needs a bit of time to happen before we can start our production line again."

CMI Industrial, which produces parts including seatbelt restraints, air bags, suspension components and brake pad backing plates, was placed into receivership on April 26. About 80 staff at CMI's local factory have been unable to work since Aoruk 20 after the landlord changed the locks in a dispute over unpaid rent.

One of the receivers, Keith Crawford, said they were working to keep CMI afloat.

"In the interim we will be liaising closely with employees and unions, customers and suppliers to ensure minimal disruption to operations," Crawford said.

Australia's auto industry is having difficulty due to the local exchange rate's protracted run against the U.S. dollar, accompanied by rising production costs and faltering domestic sales.

Canberra gave General Motors subsidiary Holden a Aus$275 million (US$283 million) lifeline to keep its plants open last month amid fears it would pull out of Australia, and pledged Aus$34 million to prop up production at Ford.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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