Toyota Australia said it was "taking urgent action to keep the company at the negotiating table for future investment opportunities and improve its long-term manufacturing viability in this country" so was seeking a variation of its Workplace Agreement terms and conditions to provide greater flexibility and increase its global competitiveness.

"Some of the proposed changes to the terms and conditions involve the removal of outdated and uncompetitive practices and allowances that increase Toyota's labour costs and reduce its global competitiveness," the automaker said in a statement.

Details of the terms and conditions that are to be reviewed will be discussed with the union and employees during the coming weeks.

President and CEO Max Yasuda and executive vice president and COO Dave Buttner have met with union officials and manufacturing employees to ask for their continued support as the automaker takes this action.

"Everyone is working extremely hard to ensure Toyota's long term manufacturing future in Australia but we must do more if we want to move towards being globally competitive," Yasuda said.

"The support of our employees is needed to modernise the work practices at our plant to increase productivity and improve our competitiveness.

"Our continuous improvement towards global competitiveness is crucial to securing production of the next generation vehicle and maintaining our export programme."

Yasuda said although the company is part way through its transformation, the proposed variation is needed if Toyota is to achieve its targets.

"We need to improve our productivity and reduce the cost of each of our locally built vehicles by A$3,800 by 2018. Although we have made progress, the speed of change has not been fast enough.

"We need to take urgent action because we are now seeing gaps in our transformation plans. We must develop detailed plans to close these gaps if we want to remain at the negotiating table for future investments."

Yasuda said manufacturing employees were due to receive two scheduled pay rises next year as part of the current Workplace Agreement. The proposed variation of the terms and conditions is intended to help prevent the company from falling even further behind on its targets.

"We want to stand by our commitment to our employees and honour the two scheduled pay rises for 2014," Yasuda said.

"During the coming weeks we will work closely with our 2,500 manufacturing employees, their families and the union to explain why we need to modernise our work practices."

Employees will vote on the proposed variation of the terms and conditions on Thursday 5 December. The outcome of the vote will be announced on Friday 6 December.