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Toyota launches worker help package

Safety in numbers: Toyota’s workers have approved a series of redundancy measures once manufacturing ends in 2017, allowing the car-maker to estimate the cost of its exit plan.

Worker assistance centres to help steer Toyota workers to new future

Toyota logo5 Aug 2014

TOYOTA today launched the first phase of a support package for its 2500 employees who will be left without work ahead of its planned withdrawal from manufacturing in late 2017.

The “DRIVE” program will help Toyota’s blue-collar workers prepare for their future over the next four years as local production of the Aurion large car and Camry and Camry Hybrid mid-size sedans winds down.

According to the car-maker, workers will be able to visit one of two DRIVE centres, located at the company’s Altona car manufacturing and engine casting plants in Melbourne’s west and the corporate headquarters in Port Melbourne, and speak to case managers about their future plans.

Toyota said it expected that most workers would seek new jobs, with others expected to become self-employed or retire.

However, Toyota is yet to announce how many workers tied in with Toyota Australia’s corporate functions will also lose their jobs after the car-maker quits manufacturing.

Toyota said it expected to make an announcement about how the factory closures would affect its corporate ranks later this year.

“During the first phase, employees will be able to obtain information on other industries, attend a scheduled career day and receive referrals for financial services and other assistance programs,” Toyota said in a statement.

“The program is funded by the company and is a key part of its long-term strategy to assist its people to retrain and re-skill for the future,” it said.

“We are committed to doing everything that we can to support our employees as we transition to a national sales and distribution company,” Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner said in a statement announcing the program.

“We understand that the next few years may be difficult for many of our people as they consider their options beyond 2017.

“The DRIVE program will act as a one-stop shop for employees to be in the best possible position of finding a new job in the future.” Toyota said that although the plant would remain open until 2017, employees were encouraged to start preparing for roles in other industries.

“The first phase of the program will encourage employees to think about what they want to do and explore potential new industries and career options,” Mr Buttner said.

“We don’t want our employees to feel rushed into making such big decisions, which is why we are waiting until next year to launch the next phase of the program.” Toyota said the second phase of the program would start in mid-2015 and provide employees with jobs skills training, individual career plans and the opportunity to access company-sponsored training and further study.

The worker assistance centres will stay open for six months after the car-maker shutters its Australian car-making operations, Toyota said.

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