GM’s Australian subsidiary Holden will resume a second shift at its factory in Elizabeth, South Australia, in November, 18 months after switching to a single shift and short-time working to protect jobs during the global recession. 

“Our team was relieved to hear the news,” said Holden manufacturing operations chief Martyn Cray. “The last 18 months have been very tough for our industry but bringing back a second shift and returning employees to full time workis an important step in rebuilding our manufacturing business,” he said.

“There is already a huge amount of work going on at the plant including equipment installation and the building of pilot vehicles for our new locally built Cruze. We are also gearing up for the new series II Commodore which will be launched in the coming months.”

Holden introduced the single shift in April last year to protect jobs as the recession saw demand for Holden exports drop by around 50,000 units. Under the reduced shift pattern employees would alternate work – ranging from one week on, one week off, to one week off in 12.

“We also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their contribution, flexibility and commitment to Holden during this challenging time. Support from everyone, including the unions, our suppliers and the federal and South Australian governments has allowed us to rebuild the business and be sustainable for the long term,” Cray said.

The second shift will return all employees who remain on alternating working patterns back to full time employment in November. Holden also anticipates hiring a small number of employees to support the second shift in the short term with the potential to increase employment further when demand significantly increases in the longer term.

Holden will build both four- and new five-door versions of the Cruze which is also just going into production in Ohio for US launch. It is already on sale in Australia, imported from South Korea.