Toyota expected to announce fresh cuts

Japanese car giant Toyota is expected to announce fresh cuts in the face of falling sales as motor industry officials meet the Government for talks over its £2.3 billion aid scheme.

Japanese car giant Toyota is expected to announce fresh cuts in the face of falling sales as motor industry officials meet the Government for talks over its £2.3 billion aid scheme.

Toyota has been consulting unions on whether to introduce a shorter working week, a pay freeze or a temporary shutdown of its sites at Burnaston, near Derby, and Deeside in North Wales.

A company spokesman said: "We have to reduce our costs further. Our employees recognise that and we are seeking agreement with the unions."

The company, which employs 3,900 workers at Burnaston and 570 at Deeside, has already cut 200 temporary jobs and opened a voluntary redundancy scheme last week.

Briefings will be held with workers at the two sites tomorrow and the move follows a series of production and wage cuts and job losses across the motor industry.

Meanwhile car company officials, bankers and union leaders will meet Business Minister Ian Pearson to discuss the Government's assistance programme for the industry, originally announced by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in January.

The European Commission approved the plans last month and tomorrow's meeting is aimed at working out how firms can access £2.3 billion of loans and loan guarantees from the European Investment Bank and the Government.

Leading car firms in the UK have already cut back on production, frozen pay, axed thousands of jobs and had to stockpile thousands of vehicles in the face of a slump in sales in this country and across Europe.

Firms which supply parts and other goods to car companies have also been hit and face a grim future unless the outlook improves.

Workers at Jaguar Land Rover recently voted to accept a pay freeze and a shorter working week in return for a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, while jobs have been cut at firms including Ford, Mini and Nissan.

No vehicles have been built at vanmaker LDV in Birmingham since before Christmas as a management buyout is attempted.

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