The 2011 labor negotiations between the United Auto Workers and the Detroit Three have been a relatively quiet affair so far, but the story is a bit different on the other side of the globe. Toyota and the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union aren't seeing eye to eye, which has lead to a strike at facilities in Melbourne and Sydney. Well, most of the union's rank and file are striking.

Australia's The Age reports that 400 of the 3,300 workers have crossed the picket line and returned to work building Camry and Aurion models, and union members are less than thrilled. In fact, striking workers have been less than subtle in threatening those 400 workers, issuing letters calling the line-crossers "f--- scabs," and adding "we know where you live."

The threats have not been well-received by union management, with national secretary Dave Smith issuing a statement saying that there was no place for threats and intimidation at work. Still, the line-crossing workers have to feel less than safe after receiving threats like "payback is a bitch three-fold" and "we know what car you drive."

Workers are striking for a 12 percent raise over three years. Toyota has offered an 11 percent raise over 39 months split into four installments. You can check out Toyota's official response to the strike in a statement available after the jump.


TOYOTA AUSTRALIA PLANT STOPPAGES UNDERMINE MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS

Toyota Australia today said that planned industrial action over a wage claim at its Altona manufacturing plant and Toyota Parts Centres in Melbourne and Sydney will undermine the stability and reliability of its Australian vehicle manufacturing operations.

Toyota President and Chief Executive Officer Max Yasuda said: "The stoppages will cause significant short term pain and have long term consequences for suppliers, dealers and customers. More than 3,300 employees and up to 11,000 supplier employees and their families will be impacted."

The company maintains that its wage increase proposal of 11 percent over 39 months is fair and reasonable and has varied the payment timings in response to concerns raised by employees. The latest offer has not been rejected or accepted by the unions.

"We have shown flexibility in seeking an agreement. The company expects that an agreement should be reached without the need to take industrial action. We just want to maintain and grow our business and offer job security for employees," Mr Yasuda said.

Toyota Australia currently exports 70 percent of its annual Altona plant production volume, primarily to the Middle East.

"We must compete with Toyota plants around the world for the right to build cars and to supply export markets. We are already under severe competitive disadvantage due to currency, high local costs and reduced volumes. We need to work together to reduce costs and improve our competitiveness. Industrial action at this time can only hurt Toyota Australia's case to maintain its export program.

"If Australian operations are uncompetitive and perceived as unreliable, these cars can be made in another Toyota plant. It puts a serious dent in Australia's reputation as a car maker and reduces job security for our employees," he said.

Toyota Australia said that due to the industrial stoppages, lost production may not be recovered, leading to product delivery delays or cancelled customer orders.

"I am disappointed that industrial action is taking place at a time when we should be building the sustainability of manufacturing in Australia. These production stops - in addition to union action taken earlier in the month - puts further pressure on Toyota's operations and on our local automotive suppliers who are already dealing with vehicle volumes currently lower than Global Financial Crisis levels," Mr Yasuda said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union (ETU) of Australia's members undertook a 24 hour stoppage on 2 September 2011 and notified Toyota Australia they would undertake protected industrial action every Thursday and Friday for three weeks (8,9,15,16 22 and 23 September 2011) and ban working overtime effective from 8 September 2011.

Fair Work Australia granted an interim order suspending industrial action for 8 and 9 September 2011. However, Fair Work Australia has dismissed the company's application for suspension or termination of future notified industrial action.

Toyota Australia deeply regrets any inconvenience caused to its customers, suppliers, dealers and employees who are impacted by this action.

Toyota Australia continues to be willing to hold discussions with the Unions and employees to achieve an agreement.

The Altona plant produces the 4 cylinder Camry, Hybrid Camry, and 6-cylinder Aurion models. More than 3300 employees build 559 cars per day, for domestic and export customers. Toyota Australia produced more that 119,000 vehicles in 2010.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      Adam
      • 3 Years Ago
      The AMWU is the reason my family business, which was over 60 years old, closed down a number of years ago. They targeted the business, which had a written agreement with the union, to employ a set number of union members, and a set number of non-union staff. Even after renewing this agreement, they organized strike action at the business' Melbourne plant and Adelaide plant. The strikes were specifically organized as a political stunt against the then-Liberal government's workplace reforms. My grandfather worked 120-hour weeks to build that business from the ground up and I am grateful that he wasn't alive to see these pathetic union thugs work their "magic" on a business who toes their line from day one. After 14 weeks of non-stop picketing, verbal abuse, threats of physical abuse and property damage (including glueing locks up and smashing windows), the union abruptly called off the strike when they realised the government's reforms could not be stopped. As a direct result of the $1million-plus losses in revenue from these strikes, less than a year later, the business closed down, and all employees lost their jobs, union and non-union. The AMWU is nothing but a bully union with the only intent to promote their leaders into the Labor party. They do not care about the average worker who cannot support their family by striking (as I believe - and correct me if I'm wrong - do not get paid while on strike as per the laws). Their abuse of Toyota staff refusing top strike is sickening yet not surprising. The majority of workers in Australia are tarred by the brushes wielded by the likes of the AMWU, CFMEU and MWU who use strikes, threats and vicious tactics, with no regard for the little people, to push their own empire-building agendas.
        Adam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Adam
        Oh and of course the union would deny involvement in these peoples' actions. They don't want the world to see their true colours.
      artandcolour2010
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unions BUILT this country. Unions just about created the MIDDLE CLASS in this country, the very people that are being pushed right out of existence by union-busting right wingers that owe allegiance only to the corporations. I'm not a union member, have never been, I have nothing to gain by supporting them except the satisfaction it is the right thing to do. Is everything they do perfect? Is everything YOU do or your business does, perfect? And the claims of "threats" is just par for the course for people that enjoy union pay and union rights but then do nothing to support the union during a strike. I doubt more than 5 people have been told "I know where you live" but all five have gone running to the media. If you've ever had a minimum wage job as a young person, instead of making $1.00/hour, if you enjoy a 40-hour work week with paid benefits and vacation, if you have a safe work environment, with an HR department that is there for you, you are enjoying "perks" that were ALL union driven to begin with.
        Sugaki
        • 3 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        Actually, if you want to talk history of building this country, Henry Ford notoriously disliked unions. But he also believed that for quality work you have to hire quality workers and pay them well. So the ideas that unions helped give auto workers the reasonable wages they need is wrong. It's such a oft-repeated strawman that non-union labor = sub-par wages and rights. Most of America does just fine without threatening strikes. Ironically, it is union labor that has seen lots of attrition. Not just the automotive industry, look at the steel industry. Union labor basically wrangled themselves into wages that weren't competitive on the global market, and many jobs were sent overseas--I guess you think that's American too?
        kevsflanagan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        You do realize that at least in America that pretty much all states have labor laws now correct? Laws ranging from how many hours a 15-17 year old can work per day/week, to forcing employers to pay time and a half for any hours worked over 40hr's a week. Heck most states mandate by law that such laws be displayed in plain sight usually in the break room. Oh and the laws also state mandated breaks both paid and unpaid. While yes I know and recognize all that Unions have done in the past we are now up to a point where most of the original merits they were created upon are already set in laws both state and federal. We have protection agencies now like OSHA, EPA and whatnot. I do understand a wish to get paid more but on the flip side a company that isnt making a profit isnt a business at all. That and especially in the US where we have a unemployment rate of near 10% hearing stories of the UAW possibly striking over pay is laughable by those same 10% of americans unemployed. Who am I kidding I know I'll flip to your side.. Roar!!!! All Corporations are EVIL!!! We won't be happy till they don't make any profit and we make all the money!!! arrr rage rage and um stuff....
          poorboywrx
          • 3 Years Ago
          @kevsflanagan
          I love time and half about as much as the next guy but sometimes it's a double edged sword. I'm employer just hires someone out as part time or per-diem then to hand out pay at time and a half usually. Especially if it's consistent work.
        julianlaroche
        • 3 Years Ago
        @artandcolour2010
        If union voted for strike,scabs should follow, they will take benefit of strike. Had vote gone other way they would have all showed for work. Of that 11% raise how is that implemented over the four installments 2,2,2,5 or 2,3,3,3 or whatever. Devil is in details. Also if you think difference is not worth strike, that is true for both sides.
          Kimithechamp
          • 3 Years Ago
          @julianlaroche
          Except one side had to overcome a hurricane this year as well... and also, are you kidding? serious? In a time when nearly everyone is considering themselves fortunate to HAVE a job, taking pay cuts to keep one, was laid off only to find employment making half what they were, or a version of all three, here the unions are DEMANDING a raise, even at the cost of other workers (their own, those of the supply and other companies who have been hurt due to the stop in flow). "What kind of installment package is my raise coming in?" That's the question worth threatening people over? What a putred, repugnent state we've come to.
      iutodd
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Workers are striking for a 12 percent raise over three years. Toyota has offered an 11 percent raise over 39 months split into four installments." Wow. Way to go unions! ONE PERCENT! Continue to protect the workers by having them live without paychecks for a month so they can make 468 more dollars in 2015.
        TelegramSam
        • 3 Years Ago
        @iutodd
        If this amount is so insignificant, why would management not pay it? This argument works both ways.
          WillieD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          You might not know this, but Toyota has to pay more than one worker so it's not just a single payment of $468.
          Chris Bangle
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          Probably to keep the unions from believing they will get whatever they want. Caving to unions is bad as they'll realize they have the upper hand and use strikes more frequently for less important matters.
          Kimithechamp
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TelegramSam
          According to WillieD and Chris Bangle, not when you use logic.
      johnb
      • 3 Years Ago
      Striking over 1% and 3 months? Sounds like the real scabs are the union members still striking. I do fear for the safety of those who want to work though. Union Thugs are a dangerous bunch.
      Basil Exposition
      • 3 Years Ago
      I applaud those 400. Good for them. In a free country, they should be able to work if they want to work and I think it's great that childish intimidation is not stopping them from doing so.
      Kimithechamp
      • 3 Years Ago
      So, another day for Unions? I think this to be the most ironic, hilarious behavior... "We're here to fight for workers rights... well, except the ones we're threatining. Dam them! How dare you go in and work when you know your supposed to spend the day protesting, yelling, and cooking hot dogs! This is America... er Aussi Land after all! And that's just our union boys, you don't want to know what we think of them non union pieces of [poop]! Tom, you better hold me back! I feel an American sized [butt] whoopin' comin' on! [mumbled] Mother trucking right wingers... they'll get there's soon enough..." "One of these days I'ma win that dam lotto." Yes, I made it G rated for your benifit.
        poorboywrx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Kimithechamp
        for what it's worth, I'm a conservative and work hard to pay my bills and I'm often dream of winning lotto. So that isn't just relegated to Union thuggery.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      ELG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not that we need any more evidence that Unions are complete scum of the earth, but here you go. Still proving themselves to be selfish greedy thugs.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Typical union thuggery. Violent, alcoholic (we have seen the videos), drug using (ditto), thugs.
        Basil Exposition
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Yes, one video of a couple guys having a beer and a joint is all it takes to prove that all union workers everywhere are drug using alcoholics.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          [blocked]
          miles
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          No kidding... Half the crew from my office goes out for beers every Friday, a few do every day. Get any big employer with hundreds of employees at one site, and you're sure to have lots of drinkers, some pot smokers, all different kinds. But I only hear people bitc4ing about it in relation to the unions.
          Kimithechamp
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Basil Exposition
          Yep, that's the attitude! UAW workers ought to be allowed to drink and get stupified because "everyone else is doin it". I have to feel like, based on most of these comments, some of you have never actually spent any time around the labor base... Oddly, unions seem to have monopolized on many vital fields (metal workers, concrete, electrical, automotive assembly, etc.) in construction and industry (though not necessarily skilled) that would prove dangerous if something were to fail. So while my accountant may lose me millions (ha, if I had it to lose) it'll be the building collapsing when the foundation fails that I'll really have an issue with. I mean, to argue that the customer service rep at the phone center being stoned at work is somehow in the same world as the people who build my car getting ripped on their break, or the carpenter drinking on the job, is pretty niave, or stupid. But then I forgot we were praising the stupid and bemoaning the educated.
      Just Stuff
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wish I could get a raise that large, greedy union @#$@#$@#. Hire some trained monkies, they could probably do a better job, for just bananas!
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Union thuggery is a universal thing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke
        [blocked]
          Adam
          • 3 Years Ago
          It's also been a part of the Australian manufacturing landscape for as long as I can remember.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Kimithechamp
        • 3 Years Ago
        I wasn't going to argue against your "German unions are great, industry, Deutsch brains yadda yadda" comment, mostly because I'm not familiar with the subject, nor did I really want to get into your point of Germany's greatest industrial asset as a nation, apparently devoid of natural resources or other positive industrial factors, being the German gray matter, but it appears as though that very thing has led you to some rather rash and far too broad assessments.... I'd argue, in no way can you really assert that "Autoblog users are convinced that the Unions [a great band] are the main reason for the deindustrializing of the American economy" from the comments on the website. At most they suggest that a substantial portion of AB readers find that unions contribute to some problems America faces in the field of industry.
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