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MELBOURNE: Toyota has begun sacking 350 workers at its plant in the outer suburb of Altona here.
Toyota said the 350 redundancies were all compulsory but a small number of workers had volunteered to be considered for redundancy, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports.
According to union figures, 262 workers were being arbitrarily sacked over two days and 88 had volunteered for redundancies.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union official, Charlie Marmara, said the tactics employed by Toyota, including calling in security guards and transporting workers across the road in vans, were heavy-handed.
"For me personally (it's) difficult, for the people themselves upsetting, a lot of people are uncertain now what the future holds for them," he told reporters outside the plant today.
Marmara said some of the sacked staff had worked for Toyota for 30 years.
About 80 per cent would appeal the decision to make them redundant.
Toyota spokeswoman, Beck Angel, told AAP the redundancy strategy was absolutely not heavy-handed, adding that security had been stepped up at the union's request during the 10-week negotiating period.
The company blamed the high Australian dollar and a slump in export demand for the job cuts, first announced in January. -- BERNAMA