Toyota case dropped as legal action unravels

by Human Capital04 Jul 2012

The legal case brought forward by 12 redundant Toyota workers and their union appears to have unravelled – the main wrongdoing seems to be one of poor taste.

The dozen workers involved in this particular case were employed as shop stewards or safety officers at Toyota's Altona plant in Victoria, and were all made redundant in April. It was alleged that the group of workers had been targeted by the auto manufacturer because they were also union representatives – yet seven of the 12 workers who launched the claim have now pulled out, The Age reported.

The case had been billed by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) as a potential landmark case protecting shop stewards. At the time of the controversial redundancies in April, lawyer Josh Bornstein from AMWU commented there was a “stench” about the way in which Toyota made workers redundant.

The car manufacturer was ridiculed by thought leaders and workers alike over the way the way it executed 350 redundancies. The company ferried workers by mini-van to a nearby reception centre to deliver the news. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten commented at the time that“you can do these things in a dignified fashion”, adding he had concerns over the way the workers were sacked.

Yet over the past week most of the applicants in the suit have pulled out. One redundant worker and former union delegate, Fadi Hassan, said lawyers at Maurice Blackburn had advised him his case was unlikely to succeed. “They said in the worst-case scenario it is going to go for a very long time, and the best you are going to get from it is $5,000 to $7,000. So we decided that that was it,” Hassan told The Age.


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