RECEIVERS appointed for troubled car parts maker CMI say it is too soon to know the fate of the Ballarat arm of the business.
CMI Industrial’s Australian operations were yesterday placed into voluntary administration after it stood down around 80 workers at its Campbellfield factory following a dispute over unpaid rent of more than $150,000.
Melbourne receivership firm McGrathNicol was yesterday appointed to manage the business, which employs about 60 Ballarat workers full time and provides work for about 40 contract employees at the disability organisation McCallum Industries.
Staff at the Ballarat factory declined to comment yesterday but the administrators will seek to stabilise the business before deciding if its Australian operations will be sold.
The Australian Manufacturers Workers Union yesterday called on the state and federal governments to do everything in their power to resolve the problems facing CMI Industrial.
Already the receivership process has seen car maker Ford close its Australian operations for almost a week, with 1800 workers stood down in Broadmeadows and Geelong.
Ford production ceased at the close of business yesterday and won’t resume until next Wednesday with a planned rostered day off also to take place.
McGrathNicol receiver Keith Crawford said he would seek to stabilise all the company’s operations as soon as possible.
“Our objective is to work constructively with CMI Industrial’s key stakeholders over coming days to stabilise operations in order to facilitate a thorough assessment of each business unit’s financial position and prospects and to prepare viable business units for sale,” Mr Crawford said.
“In the interim we will be liaising closely with employees and unions, customers and suppliers to ensure minimal disruption to operations.”
A spokesperson for McGrathNicol said it was too early to tell what impact the receivership process would have on operations in Ballarat and Horsham.
McCallum Industries manager Trevor Miller said he remained cautiously optimistic that the receivership process would enable current arrangements to continue.
“McCallum Industries relies heavily on CMI for assembly work for MI’s contract packing operations and any disruption to the flow of work will have a severe impact on MI’s business operations and consequently the longer-term viability of the business,” Mr Miller said.
“It is hoped that CMI will continue to supply work to MI, however we are now urgently seeking work from other Ballarat businesses that could utilise our services.”
Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said the government believed CMI remained a viable business.
“We believe it may be possible to restructure the business, working with the car companies to make sure that this threat to the Ford production process alleviates,” he said.
“We’re reasonably confident the right decisions will be made in terms of the restructure of CMI, which will secure a range of jobs and secure the Ford workers’ jobs, and also (ensure) the production lines at Ford keep operating.”