Toyota subcontractor workers establish union to confront Toyota's wage cuts

A Toyota subcontractor that transports new cars to ports formed a trade union to confront Toyota's wage cuts, according to Akahata of April 12.

Workers at Koyo Transport in Fukuoka City in western Japan transport new cars from the Toyota Kyushu's Miyata factory in a coal field to New Moji Port. Since Toyota changed the forwarding port, transport workers have to travel 98 kilometers one way, instead of the previous 68 kilometers. As it takes three hours for one carrier loaded with several new cars to go to the port and come back, they won't be able to make more than three round-trips a day.

The company instructs drivers to use the expressway and pay tolls from their own pockets. The company further cut the drivers' expense allowances by 30,000-60,000 yen.

At the port, after unloading the new cars for export, drivers load their trucks with new cars from the assembly plant in Aichi Prefecture for the domestic market. As trucks have to depart every ten minutes, drivers have no time to rest.

A driver works from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the first week and in the second week he works from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to keep this 2-week shift. The monthly wage for loaders is around 200,000 yen, and 150,000 yen for assorters.

Toyota's Miyata factory assembles 230,000 cars a year. Toyota Motor has a plan to build a new factory near the plant to increase the production to 300,000 cars a year. It is said that many foreign workers will be hired at the new factory.

Koyo Transport workers sought advice from the Fukuoka Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions and formed a trade union to demand that the company stop cutting their wages and allowances.

Yamazaki Mitsugu, vice president of the prefectural chapter of the All Japan Construction, Transport and General Workers' Union (CTG) said, "Koyo Transport is part of Toyota's production process. By using the transport company, Toyota saves on costs, and Toyota must fulfill its social responsibility to its subcontractors." (end)

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