UPDATED: The security of work in the near future for some Bendigo Thales employees is uncertain as engine supply issues give rise to expected production delays.
Senator Alex Gallacher asked the head of the Defence Force's land systems division in Senate estimates this week whether 150 staff were told they could be stood down without pay for the month of April, as work could not continue without supply of engines.
Major General Andrew Bottrell said Thales had not provided such information to him.
Major General Bottrell said the engine supplier had gone into voluntary receivership and Thales had entered a consortium intending to bailout the company.
He said he spoke with the company last week about what it could do to keep its workforce employed, and retain it into the future.
Thales did not confirm to the Bendigo Advertiser staff would be stood down, but said engine manufacturer Steyr Motors was undergoing a restructuring and some delays in the Hawkei production schedule were unavoidable.
But the company said it was working closely with staff, suppliers, unions and Defence to minimise disruption.
Thales was also working directly with Steyr Motors to achieve continuity of supply, it said.
"Discussions with staff and unions are focused on managing the workforce through this period," the company said.
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said 153 workers were told they could be stood down without pay.
Ms Chesters said the news was "alarming" and questioned what the government would do to prevent workers being stood down.
In estimates, Senator Gallacher said he wanted to know when the engines would be back in supply so workers could be assured it would not be stood down.
Major General Bottrell said he would not have an answer on engine supply until later this month.
the ADF and Thales were waiting on an announcement from Steyr's administrator.
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