Toyota’s Demise Partly Caused By Australian Workplace Culture
There are hints that the Australian car-making industry is having a hard time, though Toyota’s manufacturing enterprise agreement was still scheduled to deliver two pay raises totaling 5.5% this year.
Toyota put a proposal to its workers late this past year to cut back the three-week compulsory Christmas break, excessive overtime, shift loadings, long weekends, and blood-bank rorts.
For had signalled that they would pull out local production in 2016. Local production of Toyota’s next generation Camry and other models was up for grabs after the current model run out in 2017. Toyota Motor Corp was due to make the crucial decision this year.
Two-thirds of the industry had announce it was pulling out, citing the excessive production costs. Both Toyota and Holden has cited that it cost about $3,800 more to build a car, and half of the costs was labour.
Australia’s combative industrial relations culture was not the only reason for Toyota’s decision. The country’s tiny market couldn’t sustain competitive production of commodity autos, and being pushed around by the rise of Asian auto production in the past decade.
But the Australian workplace culture was clearly a material reason for the company’s decision to pull out in 2017.
Max Yasuda, Toyota Australia president, had signalled that the auto making giant was losing patience with the workplace culture, due to the workers not working on Fridays.
The previous year it had been engaged in an industrial battle with the AMWU over the enterprise agreement. Yet Toyota’s workers went on strike for five days and banned overtime to secure the deal which tripped Toyota up in court and which will give them two pay rises this year, even as the company prepare to pull out.
AMWU vehicle division chief Dave Smith made it clear the union was punishing Toyota for being less willing to sit down and negotiate with its reps as “equals”, as it said Holden had done. The union may now be regretting that decision, although Holden’s experience suggests it may not have made any difference in the long run.