The receivers and administrators of car parts manufacturer CMI Industrial are taking urgent Federal Court action against the company's landlord as they attempt to get the company operating again.
Receivers McGrathNicol and voluntary administrators Grant Thornton will ask the Federal Court in Melbourne on Friday to order the owner of the factory, Garshaw Pty Ltd, to allow access to the Campbellfield site so it can start investigating the business.
It is also asking the court to issue an order that Garshaw cannot take possession of the property or otherwise recover it, and cannot carry out distress for rent against the property.
About 80 workers at the factory have been locked out since last Friday after Garshaw changed the locks in a dispute over rent payment.
The company is claiming more than $116,000 in unpaid rent.
The lockout forced Ford to close its Australian car-making operations and stand down about 1800 workers at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants on Thursday until at least next Wednesday.
Receiver Keith Crawford, from McGrathNicol, said on Thursday he would seek to stabilise all the company's operations as soon as possible but could not reveal when the plant was likely to reopen.
Ford said it needed CMI to operate for 24 hours before it could resume production.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Steve Dargavel said the landlord appeared to be using CMI's vital position in Ford's parts supply chain to try to leverage more money out of the company.
Mr Dargavel said the company faced a dire future, with early indications showing receivers would look to slash jobs and liquidate the company.
If the Federal Court action is successful, the receivers could gain access to the site later on Friday.