‘Oh what a feeling’ for Toyota workers escorted off the premises

The way Toyota carried-out 350 redundancies earlier this week has been called ‘appalling’, with the car-maker hiring security guards to escort the sacked workers offsite in case they resisted their fate.

On Monday afternoon, 350 workers were made redundant from Toyota’s Altona, Victoria manufacturing facility, following months of the company struggling due to the high Australian dollar and decreased export demand.

Though the company announced in January that 350 workers would be asked to leave, no one knew who would be selected until they received a tap on the shoulder this week, and were escorted out by security guards.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has been against the redundancies from the start, claiming it goes against protocol for large automotive manufacturers to ‘force’ redundancies on its workers.

The AMWU claims the way the redundancies were carried out on Monday was ‘disrespectful and undignified’, and is also investigating the possibility that workers were selected on the basis of their union activity, which saw workers stage a series of strikes late last year, costing Toyota to the tune of $10 million per day.

“This could have been achieved in a much more respectful and sensitive way. We do not agree with the process,” said AMWU national vehicle division secretary, Ian Jones.

“We’ll be meeting with our shop stewards and our lawyers today (Tuesday). We’re going to scrutinise Toyota’s methodology.

“There’s been a disproportionate percentage of shop stewards and OHS reps made redundant. There’s been some selective criteria applied to our shop stewards and we’d like to know why.”

Federal Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, said the government is working with the AMWU to help the redundant workers find new jobs.

“Those workers can turn around and face their families and say, ‘well the Government’s got an employment coordinator, they’re going to provide special assistance so that we can find and re-enter the workforce as soon as possible,” he said.

“Because mum and dad didn’t lose their job because they did anything wrong. Mum and dad have been affected by the high Australian dollar which is making it difficult for manufacturing."