Australian Toyota Supplier for Hybrid Cars on the Brink of Collapse

By dancurranjr On September 5th, 2008

A CAR component manufacturer with a contract to supply parts for the new hybrid Toyota Camry is on the brink of collapse with more than 100 jobs at risk.

Teson Trims, the largest employer in the Victorian town of Euroa, is struggling, and threatens to become another victim of the car industry slowdown.

Strathbogie Shire Council Mayor Gregory Carlson said yesterday he expected the future of the company, a car interior manufacturer, to be resolved by early next week.

“We’ll find out what the facts are when we meet with the company on Monday,” he said. “But you have got to be upfront. The prospects look rather dim. We all know about the car components industry. It has not been a font of good news for some time.”

Mr Carlson said closure of Teson Trims would have a potentially devastating impact on the town, which has a population of 3300. He said the number of workers employed by the company ranged between 70 and 150 at peak periods. “The cost (to Euroa) would be equivalent to a regional centre losing thousands of jobs,” he said.

It is believed negotiations have been held about appointing an administrator to the company in a bid to have it trade its way out of the predicament.

The company declined to comment, but the National Union of Workers called on Teson’s major customers to work to save Teson, which has operated in Euroa since the early 1970s.

Antony Thow, the union’s Victorian secretary, said: “We are hopeful that the business can trade out of its current situation. We’re asking major customers to support a great Australian company that’s been in Euroa for decades.”

Victorian Industry Minister Theo Theophanous said he understood Teson was in difficulty and the Government was in discussions with the company.

Meanwhile, hostilities have broken out between Mr Theophanous and unions over the direction of the Government’s manufacturing policy.

Mr Theophanous has criticised Steve Dargavel, the state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, after the union official said his attempts to provide input into Labor’s overdue manufacturing statement had been rebuffed.

In a letter obtained by the ABC’s Stateline program, Mr Theophanous said Mr Dargavel’s comments, reported in The Australian, were ill-informed.

But union leaders last night appeared on the program attacking Mr Theophanous. Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd said he believed the Government had “missed the boat in terms of protecting the manufacturing industry in general in Victoria and also protecting very important Victorian jobs”.

Michele O’Neil, assistant national secretary of the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, said former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett had been more outspoken in defending the textile industry than John Brumby or Mr Theophanous. She said it was not good enough that the Government’s Manufacturing Industry Consultative Council had not met for 16 months.

Source: The Australian

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