Toyota Offers Poorer Work Conditions Amidst Holden Closure

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By Athena Yenko | December 12, 2013 12:28 PM EST

As a result of Holden's announcement of closure by 2017, Toyota, allegedly, uses the issue to slash costs at its Altona production by $17 million, compelling workers to accept poorer work conditions.

The Federal Court shall decide Thursday, whether Toyota can impose a new pay deal to its 2,500 workers at Toyota's Altona production plant.

Phil Hird, Toyota employee for 25 years, said that he felt that he will lost his job soon and he might as well start looking for another job elsewhere.

"If it's got to happen, it's got to happen. [I'm] just seeing what's out there now and finding out what's going on. Very shocked and gutted ... [I've] been here 25 years and the feeling is very empty. It's been a very very bad 24 hours," Mr Hird told ABC.

However, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) was advising Toyota workers not to succumb to the poorer work conditions.

"The problem with Toyota is that they've approached their workers to reduce wages and conditions without any plan of future investment. It's not the wages and conditions that are going to decide the future of Toyota, it's going to be the knock-on effect of what happens in the auto components sector and what kind of support the Government is going to do," ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, on the other hand, thinks that Toyota should be kept from closing its Altona plant.

"It is important in terms of jobs, but its also vital for manufacturing capacity, for skills capacity, for the future of these areas in our economy in Victoria. I'll seize that opportunity to talk to Mr Abbott about the future of Toyota and how the Federal Government can work with the State Government and Toyota and the entire automotive supply chain industry to secure the future of Toyota," Mr Napthine said.

Despite having workers being in the unfortunate end of the issue, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was doing all efforts to keep Toyota in Australia.

Toyota for its part, warned that Holden's closure puts "unprecedented pressure" to continue its operation in Australia.

On Wednesday, Mr Abbott met with Toyota Australian boss Max Yasuda.

"Obviously the Government will be talking to Toyota. We want Toyota to continue.They are in a slightly different position to Holden. Much more of their local production has been for export. Toyota locally have been much more integrated into the global operations of the company, it seems, than with Holden," Mr Abbott told Channel Nine on Thursday morning.

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