The words “flexible” and “contemporary” in an agreement never ever work out in favour of the staff who sign it. Holden will need to show the same loyalty to their staff which their staff have showed to Holden. They have voted for reduced conditions but I wonder if the CEO and upper management have done the same thing? I rather doubt it.

Here is the press release unedited and unchanged:-

16 August 2013



Following a ballot at all Holden sites across South Australia and Victoria, Holden’s workforce

has voted to accept the proposed changes to the enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) by

a strong majority. Per the normal process, Holden will now submit the variation to the Fair

Work Commission for approval.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Holden’s workforce for their loyalty and flexibility,”

said Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mike Devereux. “Changes like this are never

easy and the ‘yes’ vote is a huge commitment from the hard-working men and women of our

Holden team.

“These labour-related cost savings and productivity improvements are crucial to putting our

Elizabeth manufacturing facility on a path to global competitiveness.

“Australia is a high-cost country; not just for making cars but for making anything. It was

critical that we reduced our costs and delivered flexible and contemporary work


Holden, the unions and employee representatives worked together closely to develop the

variation, with the overarching goal to achieve the necessary savings and flexibilities while

minimising the impact to employees.

This variation will realise significant cost benefits for Holden’s Elizabeth plant from the time it

comes into effect. By the commencement of the Next Generation vehicle program, this

variation will have improved the cost competiveness of Holden’s Vehicle Operations facility

by approximately $15 million per year.

The variation will only come into effect once the Next Generation vehicle program is

confirmed for Holden’s Elizabeth plant.

“We can’t survive as a local manufacturer unless we reduce our costs by being as efficient

and globally competitive as possible,” commented Mr Devereux. “There are some tough

measures in this variation but the unions and our people recognise this difficult situation and

have responded in kind,”

Over the past two years Holden has made numerous changes across the business to reduce

costs and better position itself in the market. This has included production-line efficiency

improvements at our Elizabeth plant and making significant investments in Holden’s locally

made cars.

Holden has also aggressively priced and marketed its cars to compete against imports which

benefit from the high Australian dollar and the country’s internationally low tariff levels.


Australians vote every month with their purchasing decisions and consistently make

Holden’s locally produced Cruze and Commodore models two of the top 10 cars sold in the


“We are clearly producing the types of cars that Australians want to buy,” said Mr Devereux.

“But Holden has to be globally competitive and so does 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.

“We need clear, consistent and globally competitive government policy to help secure a

long-term future for automotive manufacturing.”