Federal Court blocks Toyota employee vote on contract changes aimed at lifting productivity


The Federal Court has directed Toyota Australia to stop any action it was taking to implement changes to its Workplace Agreement, including the employee vote which was supposed to take place today.

Image credit: Flickr user nox-AM-ruit
Image credit: Flickr user nox-AM-ruit

According to the press release, the decision from Justice Bromberg supports the four employees who have filed a complaint that Toyota Australia cannot change its agreement until it expires in March 2015.

Toyota has been negotiating changes to improve its productivity in the country. The proposed changes aim to remove outdated and uncompetitive terms and conditions that make it difficult for the company to compete with its other plants around the world.

President and CEO Max Yasuda said he was disappointed with the court decision.

“We believe that we are within our rights to vary our Workplace Agreement provided the majority of our employees support the changes through a formal vote,” Mr Yasuda said.

“The company is doing everything that it can to secure the future for our employees and their families.”

The ruling comes a day after General Motors announced the decision to stop Holden’s manufacturing operations in Australia, citing the strong Australian dollar, high cost of production, and a highly competitive and fragmented domestic market as the causes.

“GM Holden’s planned closure in 2017 will put our manufacturing operations and the local supplier network under unprecedented pressure, so it is now more important than ever before that we make urgent changes,” Mr Yasuda added.

“A decision will be made next year on the next generation Camry and export program and we need to take urgent action if we want to stay at the negotiating table for future investments.”

Toyota Australia is now considering its options, including whether it will appeal the decision. Media and External Affairs Manager Beck Angel they will not be giving any further comments on the issue, nor participate in any interviews regarding the matter.

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