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Issue #1543      18 April 2012

Bad management to blame for company collapse

The former director of a Victorian automotive component manufacturer should look in the mirror instead of blaming workers for the company’s collapse.

More than 100 Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members were stood down without pay when APV Automotive Components, from Coburg in Melbourne’s north, entered administration.

AMWU Victorian Vehicle Division secretary, Paul Difelice, said that workers who recently negotiated to keep their redundancy provisions were not the cause of APV’s collapse, as claimed by former managing director, Harry Hinckling.

“I find it very offensive my members are being blamed for the collapse of APV. When the company was taken over he (director Harry Hinckling) knew what the liabilities were.”

Hinckling has publicly argued a company plan to seek voluntary redundancies was rejected by the workers. However Mr Difelice accused the company’s directors of poor management and being unwilling to cooperate.

“We haven’t had access to their financials and for many years we’ve tried to sit down with the company and they’ve continually refused to work with us.

“The company could have put any terms for voluntary redundancies to their workers but instead they’ve tried to get an across-the-board reduction in entitlements.

“In the end it came back to a position of trust between the employees and Harry Hinckling and the manager out there.”

Receivers of the company, who supply parts for Ford, Toyota and Holden and are a key player in the Australian automotive chain, will now look to revive jobs and production.

The administrator, Stephen Longley, said he would hold urgent discussions with customers, employees, the AMWU and suppliers to try and restructure the business with the objective of resuming operations as soon as possible.

Meanwhile AMWU delegate, Marco Randone, who has worked at APV for 18 years, said many of his workmates had phoned him in tears.

“I’ve worked there since I left school. This is the only job I have ever had.

“I’m shattered. I was on parental leave,” he said.

“My wife just had our third daughter two weeks ago, and I have a $400,000 mortgage to pay. How am I going to do that?”  

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