TOYOTA 10% WAGE CUT – praised by Unite trade union

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Car manufacturer Toyota yesterday announced that production at its UK plants would be cut by ten per cent, with an associated cut in wages of ten per cent.

The agreement – which affects 4,500 workers at plants in Burnaston, Derby, Deeside, and Flintshire – will come into place from April 1st this year and will stand for one year.

Responding to the announcement, Peter Tsouvallaris, Unite representative at the plant said: ‘Our members are reminded daily of the tremendous insecurity this recession has brought to our industry.

‘The proposals put to the workforce today present a real opportunity to restore some measure of stability to Toyota in the coming months, and we will be recommending them to our members.

‘Unite’s priority is to secure jobs and give our members a fighting chance of coming through this economic turmoil with their jobs and livelihoods intact.

‘Any decision to cut wages and working time is never taken lightly but the agreement we have reached with Toyota will ensure none of our members’ benefits are eroded and that these skilled workers will remain in place and at work ready for when the upturn comes.

‘Once again, workers in the car industry are demonstrating that they will sacrifice in the short-term to ensure that they, their friends and colleagues can have a future in the years to come.’

Unite and the GMB trade union last week similarly praised Jaguar Land Rover workers who voted by 70 per cent to 30 per cent to accept a union-recommended cut in their working week and a one year pay freeze.

Meanwhile, Business Secretary Mandelson yesterday announced that up to £27m of government support will be made available to Jaguar Land Rover for the production of an all-new car based on Land Rover’s LRX Concept.

A government statement said: ‘Jaguar Land Rover is looking to invest some £400 million in the project that would help safeguard jobs and lead to the production of a new greener model.

‘The government is supporting the project with up to £27 million under the Grant for Business Investment scheme.

‘This is separate from the £2.3 billion Automotive Assistance Programme being discussed today at a government seminar for manufacturers and supply chain companies.

‘The vehicle would be designed, developed and produced in the UK, securing production and employment at the company’s Halewood facility, where it would be built.’

l Germany’s Daimler AG will lay off 18,000 out of 30,000 workers at its German truck plants for several months, a group statement said yesterday.

The automaker said four Mercedes-Benz plants were concerned by the layoffs and the measures would take effect by Easter (April 12), or May at the latest and run until the end of summer vacations, which is in late August.

Daimler AG declined to give details on how the measures would take effect or on production cutback targets.

That would be decided site by site with workers’ representatives, a spokeswoman said.

Daimler has already implemented partial layoffs of around 50,000 workers in German auto production that would last until June, she said.

• British Telecom yesterday announced that it is freezing the pay of all its 120,000 employees for a year, including senior executives.