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Holden Gone by 2017 - Is the Australian Media Killing our Car Industry

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    It may save part of the industry but someone had better have a good business case for it over the other regional design and development centres around the world and someone with a lot of trust for Australia to do it here.

    Comment


      Interesting article by Paul Sheehans- he is a rusted on right winger but he makes some valid points about the generosity of the agreements that workers in Australian car plants are working under;

      http://www.smh.com.au/comment/buck-h...208-2yza4.html

      Buck has to stop on saving icons

      DateDecember 9, 2013

      Paul Sheehan

      Sydney Morning Herald columnist

      View more articles from Paul Sheehan
      Follow Paul on Twitter



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      Illustration: michaelmucci.com

      On February 6 last year, I wrote a column which began: ''No Aussie brands are more ingrained in the national consciousness than Qantas or Holden but the flying kangaroo is facing extinction as a long-haul, full-service carrier within 10 years and GM Holden may not even last that long.''
      What an optimist I turned out to be. Twenty months on, what Qantas and Holden now have in common, apart from being cultural icons, is that neither of them is worth saving.
      Why should taxpayers foot the bill when these companies' own staff don't commit to their company's long-term viability?
      Qantas has just predicted a half-yearly loss of $300 million, foreshadowed major job cuts, had its debt rating reduced, and warned that its long-haul international operation is at risk.
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      General Motors has decided to shut down its Holden operation in Adelaide as part of a global consolidation. The operation has been living on the bubble for years after management and unions agreed to unsustainable enterprise bargaining agreements. The announcement of the closure is pending.
      At Qantas, two years ago, several unions led staff through months of rolling industrial action, guerilla tactics and disruptions of service, accompanied by vituperative class warfare by union officials. It was designed to bring management to its knees unless unions got the pay rises and job security they were demanding.
      The most conspicuous of the class warriors was Tony Sheldon, the national secretary of the Transport Workers Union.
      Throughout this guerilla campaign there was zero restraint placed on the unions by the Labor government. It was not until management shut down the airline that Prime Minister Julia Gillard emerged from her union-addled inertia and the government moved to force a resolution of the dispute in the public interest. Not long after this campaign, which had a disastrous impact on Qantas, Sheldon was made national vice-president of the ALP.
      Qantas bought short-term peace but the price was long-term decline. It has an unsustainable cost base. Now shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has declared that Qantas is too important to fail and urged the government to consider making a direct equity injection. This is classic Labor: subsidise the unions, rather than restructure the company, and pass on the cost to taxpayers.
      Lest I lay the blame on only one side, Qantas' troubles have been unwittingly bipartisan: management has done its share via a grandiose expansion into Asia. It has deployed precious capital on a profitless push into Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Japan that has drained the group.
      On Sunday, federal independent senator Nick Xenophon weighed in with a thrashing of management: ''Under CEO Alan Joyce and chairman Leigh Clifford, Qantas has lurched from one failed strategy to the next … Joyce seems increasingly like a desperate gambler chasing his Jetstar Asian losses.''
      Holden management also warrants a bucketing. As noted in February last year: ''Over the past seven years [the GM Holden collective bargaining agreement] has delivered a cumulative wage increase of 29 per cent, an average of more than 4 per cent per year - a real increase over inflation.
      ''The agreement also obliges GM Holden to pay generous redundancy benefits … It raises the question: why are Australian taxpayers being asked to make sacrifices, via subsidising higher costs, that the local auto-makers and their staff have not themselves been willing to make?''
      Australian consumers are not interested in overpaying for transport. Government subsidies, without end, to companies with unsustainable collective wage agreements has been death by a thousand cuts, given Australia's car manufacturing base is too small to survive the enormous economies of scale and structural overcapacity of the global car industry.
      Grace Collier, who has spent years in the industrial relations trenches working on both sides, first as a union official then as a consultant to management, has been warning for years that the management and unions at Holden have been signing suicidal enterprise bargaining agreements.
      In The Weekend Australian she offered this broader advice to the Abbott government, which I pass on and endorse:
      ''Australia is at a crossroads. For 20 years, regardless of the legislation, about half of our companies have been incrementally enterprise bargaining themselves into bankruptcy, while the other half have not. Increasingly, many of those that have bargained are on the verge of ruin. A growing number will be seeking government subsidies during the next few years.
      ''Government policy on industry assistance should be this: if a company is paying its workforce more than the award wage, then it must not receive taxpayer assistance under any circumstances.
      ''Companies that are financially distressed because of unaffordable enterprise bargaining agreements should be instructed to lodge a form with the Fair Work Commission to have their agreement dissolved, at their own cost. All of their workers and unions should sign the form and be returned to the award wage before any of them even consider putting their hand out for money.''
      It was of more than passing interest to read on Saturday that China Southern Airlines had been considering a strategic investment in Qantas, as I am a member of the Chinese airline's frequent flyer program because I can fly business class for less than half what Qantas wants to charge, and for not much more than its economy fare.
      China Southern has put aside that possible investment, but I have made the shift. Whether Qantas keeps flying internationally has ceased to be of concern to me, because I cannot afford to care.



      Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/buck-h...#ixzz2mv6O9f00

      Comment


        The payrises are an interesting one.

        My brother works as a supplier to Holden, all his best workers jump ship to Holden for more pay all the time. Quite a number come back as the money is not worth it (to them) to offset the shittier conditions and the extra hours they have to put in. Then a good proportion of the others fuck off to the mines, where the pay is even better again for 12hr shifts in a hot box.

        Comment


          Originally posted by smellytofu View Post
          Same with the design studios here who just crack the double digits in terms of staff. Most hot shot designers know if they are going to get the big dollars as well as the high profile work like say the Supra, Soarer and the first bubble Tarago did for Calty, then they are going to the US or France to get that job. There isn't the budget nor the capabilities nor high profile work here in Australia (IMHO) advance the careers of these really good designers.
          It's interesting you say that for me on a personal level. I loved drawing cars as a kid and gave some thought to pursuing a career in it, but at the time (mid-late 90s) decided against as it would mean a move to Melbourne. I've had days when I've thought that's what I should have done, but more realistically these days I'd be looking at a move to Shanghai.

          Comment


            Yeah, if you want to make a name for yourself, work in China for the car companies there. There's been several notable European designers that have gone to the mainland and did quite well. The Chinese have the $$ to throw at you if you've made a bit of a name for yourself and they (the car companies that want to grow) know they have to move away from the copycat design culture if they are ever going to be taken seriously just like the Japanese and Koreans. No doubt the Chinese will make plenty of nice looking cars eventually and they'll catch up pretty soon and it's probably the best place to be at right now given the relatively clean sheet business they have for an experienced engineer/designer/product planner to change the business in your own way. But right now, it's copying designs, getting that right before making your own version. Sort of like a kid doing their multiplications table, copy, regurgitate, copy, regurgitate and if you get that right, you can move on to more complex mathematics. Of course this is not good news for Holden and Toyota manufacturing in Australia cursed by the lack of volume and the geographical location away from the rest of the world.

            Comment


              If we can't compete making cars then at least we should be adding value to our raw resources like steel and aluminium. Is there any reason why eg we could not make a name for ourselves by making various high grade steels? Back during WW2, sorry but it is relevant as to what can be done, we did tank hull castings that were bigger than any others in the world and making armour plate that was better than the British equivalent.

              Why can't we do this sort of thing now? Or is the problem the overall excessive cost of doing business in this country?
              Richard's DatsunZ lappin LakesidZ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47OSh...&feature=g-upl

              Comment


                Originally posted by 260DET View Post
                If we can't compete making cars then at least we should be adding value to our raw resources like steel and aluminium. Is there any reason why eg we could not make a name for ourselves by making various high grade steels? Back during WW2, sorry but it is relevant as to what can be done, we did tank hull castings that were bigger than any others in the world and making armour plate that was better than the British equivalent.
                Helps when your country isn't being bombed...

                The real issue is the rise of skilled labour in Asia. From machinists to accountants, there are perfectly capable people now available in countries with much lower costs. Previously the west had a monopoly on education and technology. That has been lost as the rest of the world caught up.

                My niece and nephew are prime examples of what is wrong with Australia. They don't really care about anything except the going to the beach, playstation and shopping. My niece is doing her HSC next year and doesn't want to do uni or Tafe as its "too hard". I worry that this sort of attitude means that there will be no jobs for young Aussies. There are plenty of people round the world who want to work hard to get ahead.
                "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." - Mark Donahue Penske Porsche 917

                "In Japan we no give fark for Subaru" - Trust Japan Technical Director
                (TM - AVENGE)

                "You can never have enough power. I remember when we had Group B cars... THEN we had enough power!"
                Juha Kankkunen - Rally of Argentina '02

                Comment


                  Originally posted by itsnotagsr View Post
                  My niece and nephew are prime examples of what is wrong with Australia. They don't really care about anything except the going to the beach, playstation and shopping. My niece is doing her HSC next year and doesn't want to do uni or Tafe as its "too hard". I worry that this sort of attitude means that there will be no jobs for young Aussies. There are plenty of people round the world who want to work hard to get ahead.
                  As bad as it sounds, it's great for those still in the workforce as we'd have half a chance to work till our retirement age.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by 260DET View Post
                    If we can't compete making cars then at least we should be adding value to our raw resources like steel and aluminium. Is there any reason why eg we could not make a name for ourselves by making various high grade steels? Back during WW2, sorry but it is relevant as to what can be done, we did tank hull castings that were bigger than any others in the world and making armour plate that was better than the British equivalent.

                    Why can't we do this sort of thing now? Or is the problem the overall excessive cost of doing business in this country?
                    The endless BS, redtape, rules, laws etc in the country have pretty much priced us out of existence. Even basic things that really should stay on if even for national security are shutting down, ie refineries for local use etc.
                    Our resources are being stripped as quick as possible and flogged off for the highest price overseas irrelevant to local effect on the people (which you could argue own the resources?). Look at the gas bullshit. Ramping up production and extraction yet bullshit pretend shortages to push up local prices while Santos and whoever else make billions. Sure there's free markets but GovCo needs to step in and ensure suitable local supply and reasonable rates. This goes along way to assisting both average joe and manufacturing/production industries rather than 3rd world resource extractors which is what this place is becoming.

                    Originally posted by Falchoon View Post
                    ^The tax you speak of is FBT (Fringe Benefits Tax).

                    The Corolla/Rio/Civic or whatever aren't underpowered shitboxes anymore, nowdays they go just as well if not better than a 6 cyl Falcadore and often have more features, are pretty room inside and cost less than a Falcadore.
                    WHAT!!?? You're dreaming. Have you not driving lets say an Auto Corolla? Or a Impreza? I dead set think a Falcon could pull one along behind it fast than it it would go under it's own steam. They are gutless horrible things to drive.

                    Originally posted by race6.3l View Post
                    With Holden and Ford gone. If you like the sound of a V8, and want a new car, your choices are (from low to high):
                    -SRT-8 300
                    -Landcruiser workmate single cab
                    -Jeep Grand Cherokee
                    Only other choices under 100g are Landcruiser and Patrol wagons.

                    If you want something that is performance oriented then your choices start at 125g for an M3 or Lexus IS-F. Add 25g for an RS8 or 35g for a base level C63 AMG.
                    Good point, options will be limited. There's certainly no low 13sec (high 12 almost?) large RWD car one will be picking up for around or even under $40k that's for sure.

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by 260DET View Post
                      If we can't compete making cars then at least we should be adding value to our raw resources like steel and aluminium. Is there any reason why eg we could not make a name for ourselves by making various high grade steels? Back during WW2, sorry but it is relevant as to what can be done, we did tank hull castings that were bigger than any others in the world and making armour plate that was better than the British equivalent.

                      Why can't we do this sort of thing now? Or is the problem the overall excessive cost of doing business in this country?
                      The problem is there is a monopoly in the steel industry here (Bluescope and Onesteel) and they are pathetic. The mining industry is in a downturn and pushing for price decreases from their suppliers, these two on the other hand have increased their pricing nearly every 1/4, the only way we got them to decrease their price was to threaten to import our steel, which is substantially cheaper.
                      Originally posted by Mr Purple
                      Wow. This guy was laughed off boost cruising and he shows up here, It's like getting beaten up by a two year old and then taking on an 800 pound gorilla.

                      Comment


                        The problem is the government budget $2.86bill for processing the expected 5500 boat people next year whilst that money could be used to assist the automotive industry for the next 5years. I am not trying to be a racist cunt but we should really be taking care of ourselfs before we start throwing money around trying help everyone else out.
                        B&N Performance Engineering - 4Bangers & Mash Racing
                        1978 LB Lancer IPRA Car - In the making LB Lancer 4G63 IPRA Build - Now up and driving

                        Comment


                          The hidden sleeper to the budget is the gold plated defined benefit baby boomer pensions about to be paid to all the old public servants - 3/4 of your final salary for life! Sure there are no more people joining the scheme, but how many hundreds of thousands are still in it? Government should just change the law and set a maximum rate, as per the pension.
                          "If you can make black marks on a straight from the time you turn out of a corner until the braking point of the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." - Mark Donahue Penske Porsche 917

                          "In Japan we no give fark for Subaru" - Trust Japan Technical Director
                          (TM - AVENGE)

                          "You can never have enough power. I remember when we had Group B cars... THEN we had enough power!"
                          Juha Kankkunen - Rally of Argentina '02

                          Comment


                            Heck we could stay stop all foreign aid and redirect the funds to support people in any industry to get back to work if you want to look at it that way. I know you're not being racist or anything but I think we do have an obligation to refugees agreement Australia signed up to.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by itsnotagsr View Post
                              The hidden sleeper to the budget is the gold plated defined benefit baby boomer pensions about to be paid to all the old public servants - 3/4 of your final salary for life! Sure there are no more people joining the scheme, but how many hundreds of thousands are still in it? Government should just change the law and set a maximum rate, as per the pension.
                              I think you'd have a constitutional problem there about acquisition of property on just terms. A bit hard to argue that it's fair to change an arrangement that someone agreed to work under in good faith.

                              Edit: By the way, I think that's what the money in the Future Fund is for.

                              Comment


                                Good article, it didn't mention that the EBA's are likely being entered into with threats of walkouts and strikes. Unions have too much power sometimes and create an unsustainable business.

                                I also agree with the comments above about boat people and foreign aid.

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