On October 23, tyre manufacturer Bridgestone Australia announced to a shocked workforce that the Adelaide factory would be closing in April 2010. Six hundred workers will lose their jobs.
The Bridgestone manufacturing plant in Christchurch, New Zealand, will close by the year's end, costing 275 jobs.
The company posted a profit of $7.8 million for the first half of 2009, a drop of 28% from 2008. Meanwhile, the Japanese parent company lost $9.84 million. The closure of its Adelaide and Christchurch plants will boost the projected profit to $700 million.
Since 2001, Bridgestone Australia has received an undisclosed amount of federal government financial assistance via the Automotive Competitiveness Investment Scheme, as well as state government grants from 1986 to 1998, also undisclosed.
State and federal governments have promised a $5.7 million package to assist the sacked workers. But many of the workers will still face medium to long-term unemployment.
Adelaidenow.com.au reported on October 25: "An emergency taskforce charged with finding jobs for 600 workers sacked by tyre maker Bridgestone is looking to the defence and mining industries as a saviour."