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Holden yes vote | Q and A

Holden's factory workers have until Tuesday to vote yes or no to changes to their wages and conditions.


Why did Holden workers vote yes to wage freezes and other new restrictions?

Because they know that without these changes they will be out of a job at the end of 2016.

Does the vote secure the future of Holden now to 2022?

No. The vote is the first step in a new round of negotiations between Holden and the Federal Government. Now that the workers have made their sacrifice Holden will apply to Federal and State Governments for further funding.

Didn’t Holden get a large slice of taxpayer money only a year or so ago?

Yes. In March 2012 Holden was pledged $275 million from State and Federal Governments in return for a $1 billion investment by General Motors in two new models to be built to 2022. But Holden says market condition have changed since that deal was signed and other GM factories in neighbouring countries can build the cars for less than Holden.

Why did Holden not announce the exact split in the yes:no vote?

Holden is legally not allowed to announce the results until after workers in Victoria vote on the deal -- even though the terms do not apply to them. It’s the rules under a national Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

Why did the unions not announce the exact split in the yes:no vote?

Because they did not want to influence the voting of Victorian Holden workers. However, unions have advised members in Victoria to abstain from voting so they do not affect the outcome.

When will a final voting decision be known?

The deadline for votes expires late on Friday but voting is not compulsory. We may hear the results Friday night or early next week.

Where to from here?

The wait is far from over for Holden workers. They, along with Holden and General Motors executives from Detroit, need to wait until after the Federal election before they approach the government of the day.

What will likely happen if the Rudd Government is re-elected?

Federal Industry Minister Kim Carr and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd say they are committed to supporting Australian car manufacturing. A new deal would be highly likely.

What will likely happen if the Coalition is elected?

This is a great unknown. Opposition leader Tony Abbott says he will support car manufacturers -- providing they export. But Holden cannot make exports viable because of the strong Australian dollar. Shadow Treasurer says he supports the industry -- but still plans to cut $500 million from industry assistance which would likely push Holden over the edge.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling