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Close to 600 workers embark
on a brave new journey next
Friday when Bridgestone
closes its factory at Salisbury,
ending 45 years of tyre manufactur-
Many will make their way to the
Brahma Lodge Hotel or the Old
Spot where a mixture of emotions
will mirror a similar event at
southern suburbs pub the Tonsley
Hotel a couple of years ago when
Mitsubishi workers gathered.
Industries come and go, times
change and nothing lasts forever;
these will be the compensatory
comments bandied around among
the band of workers that was
confronted with career shock last
But reality hits hard when the
routine changes -- when there is
years. In some cases, jobs they have
held for all their working lives.
Incredibly, 212 of Bridgestone s
600 have been there for more than
"A lot of planning has gone into
this day and the days that will
follow it," senior union official
David Gray said this week.
The Australian Liquor
Hospitality and Miscellaneous
Workers Union (LHMU) has
coverage of the vast majority of the
600 workers who finish on April 30.
An LHMU director, Mr Gray said
everything that could be done, had
been done, but some workers will
find it very difficult.
"Part of the redundancy deal was
that workers would stay until April
30 so when the gates shut that will
mean a major life change for those
people and their families," he said.
"What the Bridgestone Steering
Committee has been doing is to
make sure as many as possible have
somewhere to go."
It s been a big task, with skill
sets for tyre making not matching
the skill sets for mining or defence
industry jobs. In an indication
of the nature of the work at
Bridgestone, 200 WorkCover claims
had to be resolved.
"A lot of people employed here
were on alternate or restricted
duties, so those cases had to be
finalised," Mr Gray revealed.
"Some of those people got section
43 lump sum payments, others
negotiated ongoing payments for
medical expenses and permanent
injury issues and others had their
cases finalised. It s been a difficult
David Jones, 39 year old father of
one, started at Bridgestone 21 years
He has worked as a production
line operator, leading hand and
"It s a bit of a rollercoaster,"
he said of the worker s emotional
highs and lows.
"It s difficult and it s different for
David is one of the 212 who have
worked there for more than 20
"There is the mateship issue," he
"People are moving on and going
their own way.
"You don t lose those friendships,
they just change -- that s the reality."
Mr Jones intends to take a short
holiday, have a long awaited ankle
operation and then seek re-entry
into the workforce, hoping his
newly acquired skills in truck and
heavy machinery driving will help.
Tyre giant shuts doors
Continued Page 25
Bridgestone's Salisbury factory is closing after 45 years.
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