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Toyota defends redundancy tactics

In defence: Toyota Australia is fending off criticism of the way it dismissed 350 workers ahead of the launch of its new Aurion.

Dismissed workers treated with utmost respect, says Toyota sales chief

Toyota logo17 Apr 2012

TOYOTA Australia executives who were trying to put a positive spin on the national launch of their new-generation Aurion in Adelaide today were forced to defend Toyota’s tactics in dismissing 350 workers at its Altona plant this week.

The company drew criticism for what union representatives described as heavy-handed treatment of dismissed workers, who were escorted out of the plant by hired security officers, to be informed of their fate at a reception centre across the road.

Toyota sales and marketing senior executive director Matthew Callachor said sacked workers at the Altona plant had been treated with “utmost respect” and that the company did not believe there was anything it would have done differently.

“Obviously it is always regrettable to have to let people go and we have minimised that part of it,” he said.

Mr Callachor said he did not believe the events at Altona would affect sales of Toyota vehicles.

“We have been renewing basically most of our product range, and we think people will evaluate vehicles on the basis of what suits their particular requirements going into the future,” he said.

 center imageLeft: Toyota sales and marketing senior executive director Matthew Callachor. Below: Camry Hybrid.



“So this process has been in accordance with everything we laid out to start with, and we wanted to show the utmost respect to the people involved.” Mr Callachor said the workforce at Altona was being scaled to match sales forecasts.

“Nobody will ever give you a guarantee in terms of how it will pan out in the future, but the workforce is now at a level we believe is basically in accordance with our planned volume into the future,” he said.

“The critical thing that we have done with the cars we have introduced, being Camry, Hybrid Camry and Aurion, is to make sure that we are building cars that we can be proud of on a world stage and I think that the acceptance of these cars to the export markets is testimony of that.

“Manufacturing here in Australia and helping the economy, the suppliers and everybody else is a big part of it.

“We also need to make sure we make good cars that people want to buy so we have been very focussed on that and ensuring that each one of these vehicles ... meets the requirements of the local market at basically an international level.” The dismissals are set to drag on for a day or two yet as workers nominated for redundancy under the criteria determined by Toyota but who have been off work over the past two days for some reason get their notice as the return to the factory.

The dismissals started on Monday under the glare of media cameras, and continued today when more than 100 more workers were given their marching orders as Toyota downsized its workforce by more than 10 per cent due to falling export demand for its locally built Camry.

Some workers were quoted by reporters as saying they would take their claims for unfair dismissal to Fair Work Australia.

Toyota Australia public affairs and communications manager Glenn Campbell told GoAuto that all workers who had been made redundant had the right to appeal the decision to FWA.

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