By James Wells
ADELAIDE: Electrolux Home Products farwelled 80 staff from its dishwasher plant at Regency Park in Adelaide yesterday after it ended production after manufacturing 1.5 million dishwashers over its 26 year history.
In September last year, the Swedish appliance manufacturer announced it would cut 525 employees over an 18-month period as it sought to scale back Australian manufacturing.
Electrolux held an event yesterday at the plant, which was not attended by managing director Trevor Carroll, but commemorated the last dishwasher to come off the production line – an Electrolux E:line 600ISC stainless steel 60cm integrated model.
This final dishwasher, which retails for $1250, was presented at the ceremony by plant production manager, John Rutherford to Margaret Anderson from the History Trust of South Australia. Rutherford also presented the first dishwasher manufactured at the plant 26 years ago – a Super Cascade dishwasher which retailed at the time for $450 as well as a $3,000 cheque to help construct a visual and aural display at the Trust to honour the plant.
The final production batch of 150 dishwashers will be distributed to retailers this week, which coincides with the arrival of new models from Electrolux factories in Italy and Poland.
“Production has now ceased at the plant and today is clean-up day,” a spokesperson for Electrolux told Current.com.au who attended yesterday’s ceremony.
“The equipment that will not be required at other plants will be sold off and the building will be leased prior to the property to be sold at some stage in the future.”
Of the 79 staff employed at Regency Park, half have gained employment at other Electrolux manufacturing facilities in Adelaide, with six employees moving to the Beverley washing machine and dryer plant and 24 moving to the Dudley Park cooking plant.
Electrolux has confirmed that 39 staff have either retired or taken voluntary redundancies.
Over the last five months, Electrolux has also made 30 people redundant while 16 white-collar employees have been made redundant.
“Plant manager John Rutherford, who turned 70 on Wednesday will stay on for the next few months to tidy up the plant and will then take retirement,” the spokesperson said.
Last September, Electrolux also announced that the Beverley plant, which employs approximately 350 staff, will in 2008.
Representatives from the Australian Workers Union have been reported as expressing concerns over the long term future of other Electrolux facilities in Adelaide including the Dudley Park factory in Adelaide which employs approximately 550 staff and the Woodville North distribution centre which employs 100 people.
Electrolux will continue to manufacture refrigerators and cooking appliances in Australia at its factories located at Orange, 250kms west of Sydney and cooking appliances at Dudley Park in Adelaide respectively.