Toyota workers to strike Friday

Toyota Australia has received an application from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) and the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) notifying the automotive manufacturer of its intention to strike tomorrow, Friday 14 October 2011.

The automotive giant and unions have been in discussions for the past two days following the Tuesday’s rejection of the latest workplace agreement proposed by Toyota Australia. The agreement was rejected in a secret ballot vote conducted nationally from October 6-9.

The pay dispute between the car maker and its workers remains over the percentage split of proposed pay rises. In the ballot vote, Toyota Australia workers voted against the company’s offer of an 11% pay raise over 36 months. Unions have been pushing for a 12% pay raise over 36 months with a percent split that has yet to be met by Toyota Australia.

The agreement currently in discussion follows an agreement rejected in early September which offered workers an 11% increase over 39 months with varied spilt of an initial 2% rise, followed by 2.5%, then 3% and subsequently 3.5% rise. This offer was also rejected by unions over the percentage split.

Tomorrow’s strike will go ahead if an agreement cannot be reached. However, the word is that an agreement to will resolve the on-going and long running pay dispute is near completion.

Toyota’s Altona plant is currently in a seven day unplanned shutdown period, which started on Tuesday 11 October and will continue to next Wednesday 19 October. The shutdown will be spread across the seven days inclusive. During this time Toyota will be converting equipment and preparing the Atona plant for production of the new seventh-generation Camry model, which has been pushed back as a result of the on-going strikes.

The car maker hired approximately 40 new starters to work on the production of the newly launched seventh-generation Camry.

The company has previously told media it expects a loss of $10 million every day its workers are on strike. Last month Toyota workers went on strike for five days. This has reportedly cost the company at least $50 million.

In September, the situation in reached a crucial point when suppliers stated that there was a probability that they may be forced to sack 3,000 employees due to Toyota’s lost of production. This lead the car maker to take formal steps under the Fair Work Act to prevent continuous and extended strikes at the plant that would have significant and potential damaging affects on the industry. 

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