Toyota employees who defied industrial action and turned up to work have been threatened with “payback” in a chilling letter that claims “we know where you live”.
The full-page letter says the workers are a “f…ing scab” and “the lowest of the low” for going against the majority of workers who went on strike today.
“We know who you are, we know what car you drive, we know where you live,” the letter reads.
“Payback is a bitch 3 fold. “Scabs do not go against the majority.”
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) acting national secretary for the vehicle division, Dave Smith, condemned the letter and said there was no place for threats and intimidation in the workplace.
The union would begin an investigation into the source of the letter when workers returned on Monday, he said.
More than 3000 Toyota employees in Melbourne and Sydney began a 48-hour strike this morning over a pay dispute, bringing production to a halt.
Toyota Australia spokeswoman Laura Hill said there was no production at the company’s Altona assembly line after just 400 of the normal 3300 staff arrived for work.
The action is also affecting the Altona and Sydney parts distribution centres.
Further strike action is planned for next Thursday and Friday.
The industrial action was due to begin last week, but Fair Work Australia granted Toyota an interim suspension banning the strike.
A similar application by Toyota this week was denied.
Mr Smith said strike action was taken because workers had reached a “stalemate” with Toyota over wage increases.
Mr Smith said the union was seeking a 12 per cent pay rise over 36 months, or four per cent each year, but the company was offering 11 per cent over 39 months, split into four instalments ranging from 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent.
He said workers understood the pressures the company was under in difficult economic times, but they were also “copping it pretty hard”.
Ms Hill said the strike was costing Toyota an estimated $10 million a day in lost sales, and it had a domino effect on suppliers and their employees, Toyota dealers, export contracts and the company’s reputation.
But Mr Smith said the company knew it could catch up on lost production caused by the strike action, through increased production and overtime.
On Tuesday, Toyota Australia president and chief executive Max Yasuda warned that continuing industrial action would hurt Australian operations and the cars could be produced elsewhere.
“If Australian operations are uncompetitive and perceived as unreliable, these cars can be made at another Toyota plant,” he said.