It seems to be bad news on top of bad news for the jobs situation locally. Over a thousand workers will be retrenched locally from Coca Cola (180), GM Holden (900+), automotive suppliers and Telstra (120).

On top of this many other organisations, public and private sector, both large and small, including and not for profits are quietly retrenching workers without drawing media attention.

Can we help these individuals and families affected by redundancy? Can we help the organisations facing these difficult decisions?

What can I do?

You can help. We need to help local businesses to grow so they can employ more people – and spend more money locally. The Shop Local campaign emphasises “Local is the new Black” – get behind it if you want your dollars to help support local business and local jobs. The Brand SA strategy helps consumers identify local businesses.

Depending on what services you or your business provide you can find other ways to support people directly affected by retrenchments. I can see a real need for family counselling emerging as retrenched workers manage their feelings – some men are expressing to me already the guilt and shame they feel about asking their wives to seek work, now retrenchment is imminent for them. Some wives are expressing frustration and anxiety about feeling unskilled and lacking in confidence – having been out of the workforce for years – and now they resent facing the pressure from their partners to return to work. On top of all this retrenchment often means both partners being at home and spending more time together – often with money worries. This can be a pressure cooker situation – an opportunity for local service providers to provide counselling support.

What can we encourage businesses and the State Government to do?

So much help can be given at different levels. The most obvious help needed is new jobs and more business opportunities in the State. Creating sustainable jobs, by attracting new organisations and more Head Offices here, would be a great start. The State Government is already working on these strategies to help attract jobs to SA.

The State Government is stepping in with support programs – often targeted at industries or large organisations. For example, the Automotive Workers in Transition program and Beyond Auto. There is also subsidised training for people to develop skills aligned with the new and developing career opportunities – such as the Certificate 111 in Individual Support for people wishing to take up opportunities in the NDIS.

What we need now is increased and consistent support for all retrenched workers, including executives. Not everyone wants to work in the NDIS, or in the areas where there are lots of job opportunities. Executives and professionals, in particular, need individual support to find their next step. We need support to be provided across Adelaide – it’s not just the North that will suffer. Support to help retrenched workers and their families manage their emotional wellbeing, see new opportunities (including entrepreneurship) and receive support to pursue them, support to manage their money and their job search strategy.

What responsibility are these companies taking?

The organisations that are retrenching workers are typically paying for outplacement consultants to provide support to those directly affected. Sometimes this support lasts a month – sometimes, as is the case for Holden workers, it lasts many months. When the support from the company runs out we need an organised response to provide support to people in our community.

Sources of help and career advice

Help is available now. There are free workshops for retrenched workers, those at risk of retrenchment and their family members seeking a job. There is career development help, advice and information available via Beyond Auto, the Automotive Workers in Transition program and the Career Development Services.

 

HR Managers – make use of the wealth of information on redundancy, entitlements and outplacement at www.outplacementadelaide.com.au

Obtain resources and information about what needs to be thought through, how to choose which specialists to talk to and where you can go for legal advice. Use the Outplacement Adelaide checklists and guides to help you decide what questions to ask potential legal advisors and those offering specialist support.

If you would like the contact details of someone who can help you with redundancy, outplacement and related legal or practical issues, contact Outplacement Adelaide on 8322 8455 and we will provide details for an experienced Employment Lawyer, Industrial Relations Specialist or Outplacement Consultant who can help you.