Toyota talks over future of 750 staff

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The Independent Online

Toyota UK is in talks with trade unions about the 750 workers that will not be needed at the company's Burnaston factory after it closes its second production line in August.

Options on the table include work-share arrangements, further reductions of hours or pay, or voluntary redundancies. The company ruled out compulsory lay-offs yesterday.

The move to a single production line was made at the end of last year, after the recession sent production at Burnaston down from 213,000 vehicles in 2008 to just 127,000 in 2009.

The discussions with workers' representations will continue until March. "This is a managed process to try to maintain long-term permanent employment," a spokesman said.

Amid last year's plummeting demand, Toyota UK made a series of adjustments to its working arrangements, including non-production periods, pay cuts and 300 voluntary redundancies.

There has been some stabilisation of demand thanks to scrappage incentive schemes in several European countries, and Toyota is forecasting a slight increase in production at Burnaston, pictured, over 2010. The factory will also start production of the Auris Hybrid this summer, Toyota's first European hybrid production.

The company also yesterday extended the recall of 1.1 million US cars to Europe, over concerns about accelerator pedals sticking downwards.

Rival Nissan's Sunderland plant is relaunching its third shift and creating 400 temporary jobs in response to high demand for the Qashqai model built there.

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