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Car workers see a lifeline -

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BRENDAN TREMBATH: More than 1,000 car workers have lost, or are soon to lose their jobs since Ford,
Mitsubishi and Holden announced they would close engine plants.

Some of them are encouraged by Toyota's announcement to start a new project.

Alison Caldwell has been speaking to Michael Stirling, a Ford employee in Geelong.

He's one of many workers who'll be looking for a new job, once he loses his in 2010.

MICHAEL STIRLING: I'm maintenance fitter with Ford in the Geelong engine plant. I work in the barra
headline and I've been working with Fords for 21 years.

ALISON CALDWELL: And when did you find out that you would no longer be working for Ford?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Midway through last year.

ALISON CALDWELL: And how is the job search going?

MICHAEL STIRLING: I've been really committed to see this through to the end. A bit closer towards
the closure I will certainly be ramping up the job searching.

ALISON CALDWELL: Now with this news today that Toyota will build a hybrid Camry in its plant at
Altona, with that announcement do you feel as if you might get a job there?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Well, that would be lovely to think so. Certainly the people like me would have
skills that would suit so there is definitely a positive in that. Whether the timing comes together
would be... something that I'd have to watch, I guess.

ALISON CALDWELL: What is the timing for you?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Well, we finish midway through 2010.

ALISON CALDWELL: Do you think there will be some talk in the industry amongst workers like yourself
about possible hopes of getting work at that plant?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Oh absolutely. Absolutely, but you've got to consider the real facts and they are
that Holden will close its four cylinder engine plant at the end of 2009. Probably six months prior
to Fords closing its I6 engine plant. Whether there are any jobs left for ex-Ford workers after the
ex-Holden workers have had their go, well that is yet to be seen.

One core job in a car plant creates, loses six or seven jobs downstream depending on whether it is
a new job or a job going out. There could be opportunities in the supplier industries as well.

ALISON CALDWELL: Could you apply your skills that you use every day at Ford building those engines
to say, could you just transfer those skills to a hybrid different model car with a different
company?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Oh, I think that will be quite easy. That will be quite easy to do. I'd hope that
Ford would look at the announcement that Toyota have made and maybe they could, they would look at
that and say why can't we apply for some funding and why can't we do something similar in Geelong.

There is no reason why Fords couldn't be building a hybrid engine in Geelong.

ALISON CALDWELL: In the plant where you are working?

MICHAEL STIRLING: Absolutely.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Ford employee Michael Stirling, speaking to Alison Caldwell.