Thousands of Victorian car workers have been stood down after strike action at a major automotive parts supplier. The supplier, Icon Automotive, based at Huntingdale in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, makes plastic components for both Ford and Toyota.
About 120 members of the Miscellaneous Workers Union, National Union of Workers and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, who are employed by Icon took strike action on Friday after the company was placed in voluntary administration. Unions say the workers are facing the loss of over $7.3 million in entitlements.
The Administrators, PPB, had asked the workers to help them ‘trade out’ of this mess asking them to pledge to work for 1 to 2 weeks to see how things went.
The workers refused to be part of this dodgy plan as they had concerns that PPB had made a deal with the car companies to only keep supplying for a short period whilst they helped another company ‘tool up’ for the job. Two weeks later the workers would have still been chasing lost entitlements and the multi million dollar car companies would have kept production going not losing a cent.
The workers decided to go with a different strategy telling PPB that no stock would leave the factory until their entitlements were secured. A picket line was promptly established and no stock has gone in or out since.
The strike has had massive ramifications throughout the state. Over 1600 Ford workers at the Broadmeadows plant were stood down yesterday and today over 1000 workers at Toyota’s Altona plant were also stood down. Thousands more workers at component manufacturing plants around the state have also either been stood down or are facing stand downs in the next day.
Not only is big business happy to see thousands of workers stood down without pay but they are prepared to lose millions of dollars in lost production to ensure workers fighting for their entitlements do not win.
This is a taste of how our working lives will be if Howard’s new work laws are allowed to come in. More job insecurity, unsecured entitlements, and bosses running roughshod over workers will be the music for the future if we don’t fight now.
Car workers throughout the state and all workers need to support this dispute. Lets not let big business and in particular this grubby boss at Icon get away with ripping off workers. Make the Icon workers fight our fight visit the picket line now at 17 Franklyn St Huntingdale Melways map ref 70 A11.
By Anthony Main