Holden boss Mike Devereux has thanked the company’s employees for their “loyalty and flexibility” in backing a revised pay and conditions deal that could help save the car maker’s Australian manufacturing operations.


With the vote by staff completed on Friday, Holden said the new enterprise agreement had been accepted by a strong majority.

It will now be submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval.

“Changes like this are never easy and the yes vote is a huge commitment from the hardworking men and women of our Holden team,” Mr Devereux said in a statement.

“These labour-related cost savings and productivity improvements are crucial to putting our Elizabeth manufacturing facility on a path to global competitiveness.”

The new deal is expected to save Holden about $15 million a year and includes scrapping a wage rise scheduled for November.

But it will only come into effect when Holden approves its next generation vehicle program, a $1 billion investment to build two new cars in Adelaide from 2016.

To ensure that program goes ahead the company has already indicated it will need ongoing financial support from state and federal governments.

It has already been pledged $275 million in a package negotiated last year, but is now thought to need another $200 million.

The federal election has stalled negotiations with the Labor government while the coalition is sticking by its position to cut $500 million from overall auto industry assistance.

Holden has said it will have talks on further assistance with the new government after the September 7 poll.

Mr Devereux said Australia remained a high-cost country, not just for making cars but for making anything and while Holden had to be globally competitive so did the country’s industry policy.

“As a local manufacturer, Holden is asking for a fair go. Australia must be able to compete fairly on the world stage,” he said.

“We need clear, consistent and globally competitive government policy to help secure a long-term future for automotive manufacturing.”

The changes to Holden’s enterprise labour agreement also come after Holden recently made 400 staff in Adelaide redundant and cut its vehicle production in response to softening market conditions.

To the end of July this year, demand for the company’s locally-produced cars was down 28 per cent to just over 30,000.

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