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March 6, 2003

CANADA: Toyota abandons bid to overturn labour law violation order – report

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada has cancelled its bid to overturn an order that accused the car maker of violating provincial labour laws when it forced employees to work overtime at a southern Ontario plant, the National Post reported. According to the report, company spokesman Greig Mordue said Toyota abandoned the appeal partially because most employees have agreed to work overtime so production has not been hurt.

By bcusack

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada has cancelled its bid to overturn an order that accused the car maker of violating provincial labour laws when it forced employees to work overtime at a southern Ontario plant, the National Post reported.

According to the report, company spokesman Greig Mordue said Toyota abandoned the appeal partially because most employees have agreed to work overtime so production has not been hurt.

The National Post said Toyota’s Cambridge, Ontario, plant has 2,800 workers who build several models, including the popular Corolla sedan.

“The thought of engaging in a process that pits team member against team member and team member against the company is frankly contrary to our values,” Mordue added, according to the report.

The National Post said the appeal, which was scheduled to be heard at the Ontario Labour Relations Board next week, came after three employees argued Toyota broke Ontario’s labour laws by demanding assembly workers put in as much as 10 hours a day.

The report said a ministry investigator backed up that claim on September 23, ordering Toyota to “cease and desist” from scheduling workers for more than eight hours a day and to stop “intimidation or threats of penalty” against employees who refuse overtime hours.

The National Post said the ministry argued Toyota misinterpreted new labour laws — which allow for 60-hour work weeks if there is a mutual “arrangement” between employer and employee — to mean that it can legally take “corrective action” against those who refuse.

“This is an important case and we’re very happy [Toyota withdrew],” John Lang, a lawyer who represented one of the employees, told the National Post. “It underlines the fact that the [ministry’s] decision was solid and well rooted in law.”

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