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The Race to the Bottom Continues

Offshore makers are demanding -- and getting -- more and more concessions from workers.

by on Mar.11, 2009

Better a pay cut than no pay at all says the union.

Better a cut than no pay at all says the union.

It’s not just the beleaguered members of the United Auto Workers union who are granting concessions to automakers in desperate, perhaps futile, attempts to save their jobs as the Great Recession careens toward depression. Toyota workers in the United Kingdom have just agreed to a 10% cut in wages on the recommendation of their union, as Toyota scaled back production 10%. It was just the latest in a series of economizing steps that Toyota is undertaking globally.

Peter Tsouvallaris, the Unite the Union representative in the United Kingdom said:  “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.”

The agreement, effective April 1, is for one year. It applies to about 4500 workers at Toyota’s North Wales (Deeside) engine plant and the car manufacturing plant in Derby. Two hundred temporary positions were previously eliminated. The plants had just completed a two-week shut down.