Economy

Boeing the latest company to cut jobs as slowdown bites

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Aircraft giant Boeing Australia has confirmed it will cut about 550 jobs from its Port Melbourne plant over the next 18 months, adding to the list of companies wielding the axe.

Aircraft giant Boeing Australia has confirmed it will cut about 550 jobs from its Port Melbourne plant over the next 18 months, adding to the list of companies wielding the axe.

Boeing says it will sack around 350 workers straight away as part of a first wave of cuts designed to shift some production from Melbourne to Sydney. But union fears are that the company could slash even more jobs as conditions in the global airline industry worsen.

Boeing is just the latest company to slash jobs in recent months. The list includes:

  • Cadbury, which will sack 330 workers across its Australian and New Zealand plants.
  • Ford, which will sack 350 workers from its Victorian plant.
  • Starbucks, which closed many of its Australian stores with the loss of 685 jobs.
  • Smallgoods maker Don KR Castlemaine, which will sack 600 workers.
  • South Pacific Tyres, which will close its Victorian plant at a cost of 587 jobs.

The job cuts are likely to continue as the economic slowdown bites. Greg Will, partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers private companies practice, says that 12 months ago many companies took on new workers in anticipation of continued growth.

“Now there are many businesses in the private sector that are looking at their staffing levels.”

Will says that companies that feel they must make job cuts should not delay the decision and should avoid a situation where they sack one worker this month, two next month and three two months after that. He argues this creates uncertainty among staff and customers, which can harm productivity and morale.

“You’re better off making a decisive strike and doing it once and once only.”

He also advocates the use of contractors and sub-contractors for those businesses that do find themselves under-staffed. “This allows you to turn the tap on and off and introduce some flexibility.”

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