Zeiss to close Adelaide Rx lens laboratory; net 75 jobs will go

The Zeiss facility at Lonsdale, SA
“While the loss of jobs is deeply regretted, it is clear that our prescription-lens laboratory cannot be profitable in the long-term. This restructure will allow us to sustainably compete in this very dynamic market. It’s a development which is unfortunately not uncommon in the optical industry these days,” Mr Redner said in a statent issued on 26 Septber.”We will now step into a thorough and genuine consultation process with the affected colleagues.”We will ensure that our obligations for benefits and entitlents are fulfilled, and we will work hard to support our staff at this difficult time. We do not anticipate any impacts for our customers”.The company said it had informed its corporate workforce and unions about the redundancies on 26 Septber.The Lonsdale closure leaves Essilor Australia with its surfacing, coating and fitting laboratory in Sydney (importing a significant percentage of its lenses from Thailand), Hoya Lens Australia with its lens surfacing and coating laboratory in Sydney and fitting laboratories in various states (importing considerable quantities of lenses from Thailand), Shamir Australia in Brisbane surfacing, coating and fitting 99 per cent of its prescription lenses, with the raining 1 per cent imported from parent company Shamir Optical Industry in Israel, CR Surfacing in Melbourne (surfacing, coating and fitting), Opticare in Sydney (surfacing, coating and fitting) and a number of smaller laboratories.The Zeiss prescription-lens operation, formerly Sola Optical, was a giant ophthalmic lens company in Australia during the 1980s and 1990s, when it held as much as 80 per cent of the plastic-lens market here and for a while was the leading prescription and plano sunglass lens manufacturer in the world. At Sola’s zenith, there were 700 ployees at the Lonsdale facility.Sola was a pioneer of CR39 plastic lens manufacture, which gained it considerable support from OPSM and which in turn led to the gradual increased acceptance of plastic lenses by the rest of the market.And, like other manufacturers, it reached great heights with the arrival of scratch-resistant coatings, virtually consigning glass lenses to history, certainly to a minor role.

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