AMWU scrutinises claim union activists targeted by Toyota

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AMWU scrutinises claim union activists targeted by Toyota

The AMWU is investigating whether union activists were targeted in the 350 forced redundancies at Toyota’s Altona plant over the last two days.

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The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) is investigating whether union activists were targeted in the 350 forced redundancies at Toyota’s Altona plant over the last two days.

Ian Jones, national secretary of the AMWU’s vehicle division, said the number of union delegates sacked was ‘disproportionate’.

He also described the method of dismissal as ‘disrespectful and undignified’.

‘This could have been achieved in a much more respectful and sensitive way,’ he said.
‘We do not agree with the process.’

The dismissed workers were ‘tapped on the shoulder’ at their workplace and then driven to a nearby reception area where they were shown a report on their work performance.

‘Toyota way’
 
The criteria for assessment were: commitment to the Toyota way and corporate values, safety, attendance, work quality, performance, skill, teamwork, standards, diligence and technical skills.

Jones said the AMWU would now investigate whether workers had been selected for redundancy on the basis of their union activity.

‘We’ll be meeting with our shop stewards and our lawyers today — we’re going to scrutinise Toyota’s methodology,’ he said.

‘There have 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.’

Assistant vehicle secretary, Dave Smith, said the union’s perception of Toyota has been shattered.

No respect
 
‘A part of the Toyota way, the Toyota philosophy; a central plank of that is respect, and they have shown no respect for their workforce today, none whatsoever.’

Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said it was wrong to label the workers who had been sacked as ‘slackers’.

‘I don’t believe that everyone who’s lost their job has lost their job for any other reason than because the business is affected by the high dollar,’ he said.

‘I am concerned at hard line redundancy tactics which may pick people because they were union reps or safety reps. And that’s some of the allegations yet to be proven, I must add.’
 
‘But there seems to have been a fuss here, which is unusual. I’ve found in the past Toyota to be a pretty sophisticated, forward-thinking company.’
 
‘It may well be that everything they’ve done here passes muster, but some of the media reports in Melbourne’s newspapers today at least raise your eyebrows.’

‘And what I would just say to companies who have to do redundancies — not that you have to keep a person in a job for life — that’s not the way of the modern world.’
 
‘Not slackers’ says Shorten
 
‘But if you’re going to let someone go — especially someone who’s been there for a period of time — you can do these things in a dignified fashion.’
 
‘That doesn’t make the news any more palatable, but last night and tonight people will be at home. Their kids will be asking mummy, daddy, did you lose your job because you were a slacker? And that is not the case.’

Shorten said the dismissal procedure would be set out in Toyota’s EBA and whether it was followed may now be tested in Fair Work Australia.
 
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