Toyota Australia Workers To Vote On Labour Changes Photo:
Mike Stevens | Oct, 31 2013 | 4 Comments

Toyota Australia has announced it will take "urgent action" as it works to ensure the future of its local manufacturing operations.

In a statement today, the company said it is seeking "a variation" of its Workplace Agreement terms and conditions, including the removal of what it described as outdated and uncompetitive practices and allowances.

Toyota has not revealed details of the proposed changes, although it is likely the company will propose to freeze pay rises and reduce entitlements, in a move similar to that taken by Holden in August.

In the lead-up to new talks with unions and workers in the coming weeks, Toyota said today that the current workplace agreement has increased labour costs, reducing the global competitiveness of its Australian manufacturing operations.

Today's news comes after an announcement earlier this month of 100 voluntary redundancies planned at Toyota's Altona manufacturing plant, which followed 350 layoffs last year and more than 400 in early 2013.

In announcing those redundancies earlier in October, Toyota Australia president Max Yasuda said the carmaker needs to reduce the production cost of each locally built vehicle by $3800 before 2018.

"We need to improve our productivity and reduce the cost of each of our locally built vehicles by $3,800 by 2018. Although we have made progress, the speed of change has not been fast enough," Mr Yasuda said.

"We need to take urgent action because we are now seeing gaps in our transformation plans. We must develop detailed plans to close these gaps if we want to remain at the negotiating table for future investments."

Today's announcement is no surprise: along with redundancies, pay cuts are another obvious avenue to reducing costs.

The cuts won't happen immediately, however. Mr Yasuda said that two pay rises are scheduled for 2014 as part of the current agreement, and the company intends to stand by those two increases.

Mr Yasuda said the company will speak with unions and its 2500 manufacturing employees over the coming weeks to outline its proposal.

As with Holden's manufacturing employees in August, Toyota's workers will vote on the company's proposal on December 5, with an announcement to follow on December 6.

MORE: Toyota Announces Redundancies At Altona

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