I have, in one capacity or another, been associated with the vehicle industry in this state for some 25 years. It is an industry that prides itself on having world best practices and has some of the most sophisticated industrial agreements in this country. Voluntary redundancy instead of compulsory redundancy has been the norm in the industry during that time. The basis for this is that employers and unions have worked closely to avoid disruption of people’s lives and disruption of the production process.
However, yesterday Toyota chose to undertake an exercise that made me feel physically ill. Toyota hired a security company whose guards wore red T-shirts. The red T-shirted men rode minibuses, some riding on the roofs of the minibuses, into the factories and went up and down the production lines with local managers, fingering Toyota workers and then transporting them off site.
The only things missing yesterday were black balaclavas.
I went to the Toyota plant this morning to hear for myself what is happening out there. No dignity or respect has been afforded to Toyota workers. This from a company that previously had pride in its commitment to its employees. Toyota’s behaviour on this occasion has trashed its own brand. This could so easily have been avoided if Toyota had just employed a proper voluntary redundancy process. My thoughts today are with the Toyota workers who have been sacked or who will be sacked this week.