Editorial - February 6: Starts and ends with workers

THE management of embattled engineering firm W.E Smith shared a brave face, while discussing the turmoil surrounding the company.

We are told most of the staff, who have gone unpaid, want it to survive.

The 80-odd workers seemingly have little choice.

If they walk they stand to lose superannuation and entitlements, but how can you pay the bills without a wage?

Contracted in to head the rescue plan of this 94-year-old company, is William Van Vliet, a former US Navy boilermaker, with experience in engineering firms across Asia.

Bill said when he took over the company in August it had just $1500 in the bank and through his restructure he has built the management from existing staff.

W.E Smith is said to have several contracts in the pipeline, will look to conduct maintenance on equipment it has supplied around the world, and will eventually branch into solar.

The company's downfall has been turbulent times in the oil and petroleum industries, stiff overseas competition and the logistics of transporting heavy machinery by sea and road.

With that said, the sacrifices of the W.E Smith workforce are extremely honourable, but they now have to be the company's greatest consideration.

Matt Deans,
Editor