Today marks a sad day for Australian Holden dealers, and more than 9,000 of their employees, after the majority of dealers were left with no choice but to accept General Motor Holden’s compensation offer.
Holden dealers have helped Australian communities for almost 90 years, sponsoring school events, local clubs, and employing thousands of Australians.
Holden dealers also loyally supported General Motors Holden (GM) during some of its toughest times. During the 1991 recession and throughout the Global Financial Crisis, Holden dealers continued to take stock from GM in order to help it survive the crisis, whilst it squandered more than $2 billion in taxpayer funded support over the years.
Yet, as Australia entered its first since recession since ’91, sadly the loyalty and support toward GM has not been reciprocated.
Weak regulations, heavily favouring the multinational franchisor, have effectively allowed GM to walk away from their agreements leaving dealers with empty showrooms and millions in losses.
GM have thumbed their nose at Canberra along the way, refusing to negotiate in good faith, making a mockery of mediation and finally rejecting arbitration. If Australia continues to allow small, family businesses to be ruined by overseas corporates then what have we become?
With great reservation, financial pressure and reluctance, 120 dealers have now accepted GM’s compensation offer.
General Motors Holden’s exit sets a dangerous precedent – it’s time to make some changes otherwise it might be your job or business next.