Ford cuts 440 jobs: Midday roundup

Ford Australia is cutting 440 jobs across its business mainly from its manufacturing divisions.

The move comes as Ford seeks to reduce overall production numbers in the next three months “to more closely align production with current market demand”.

Production will change from 209 vehicles per day to 148 vehicles per day in November 2012.

The car manufacturer will offer redundancies on a voluntary basis in the first instance but said a compulsory program “may follow” if the required reductions aren’t reached.

Ford Australia president and chief executive Bob Graziano said the reductions were necessary in order to provide more stability and certainty for the business.

“We understand that, unfortunately, the impact on our employees will be significant, but implementing this structural change is essential to ensure the longer-term health of the business, which is important for our employees, our suppliers and the communities in which we operate,” he said.

“All employees who take up the redundancy will receive a competitive redundancy package, including training and career counselling; and we will work closely with them and our union partners to help our employees make the transition successfully.”

RBA: Inflation still under control

The Reserve Bank of Australia still believes inflation is under control, according to the minutes of its July meeting, where it decided to keep the official interest rate on hold.

In its minutes, the RBA said the controlled inflation is a sign the domestic economy is continuing to remain strong.

“The weak conditions in parts of the economy for most of the past year – such as retailing and housing – also appeared to have played a role,” the RBA said.

The RBA also said that given the lower inflation rate, it’s appropriate to have the cash rate at just below average, given weaker economic conditions overseas.

“But with a material easing in monetary policy having occurred over the preceding six months or so, and with recent signs that the domestic economy had a little more momentum than had earlier been indicated, members saw no need for any further adjustment to the cash rate at this meeting,” it said.

Car sales fall in June

The number of new cars sold in June fell, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show 91,375 cars were sold during June, down from the previous month by a seasonally adjusted 0.6%.

However, sales are up by a seasonally adjusted 18.4% compared to the same time last year.

Productivity not just about IR: Swan

Treasurer Wayne Swan says issues surrounding productivity in the workplace can’t be contained in IR policy, and warned the Federal Government will not oversee a cut in wages and conditions.

“There are some in the business community who don’t necessarily accept that workers have bargaining rights,” he told ABC Radio today.

“But if we want to have a fair dinkum debate about productivity in this country, it is something far broader than a narrow industrial relations agenda that some in the business community are talking about.”

“Quiet day” ahead for Australian stock market

The Australian stock market opened higher despite falls on Wall Street overnight after weak US retail sales figures.

At the official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.23% to 4,114.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries Index lifted 0.22% to 4,152.3 points.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst, at CMC Markets, said the Australian market appeared set for a quiet day after international share markets failed to follow through on Friday’s strong rally.

“The US retail sales figures released last night are a reminder of the negative impact that concerns over Europe have had on international consumer activity,” said Spooner.

“On a six month rolling average basis, consumer spending in the US is doing little better than rising in line with inflation.”

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