MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Toyota Motor Corp. Australia Ltd.'s Altona plant is running normally again after strike action at one of its plastic parts suppliers forced the company to lay off 2,000 workers temporarily. Employees at Victorian injection molding company Socobell OEM Pty. Ltd., a Toyota supplier for 25 years, walked off the job May 19 after disputes over bargaining agreements between the company and the Vehicle Division of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union.
Socobell employees went back to work May 24, following the company's agreement to a 6 percent pay raise and a commitment to enter a 12-month agreement with the AMWU.
The strike halted production of 90 plastic products the company supplies to Toyota, including door handles, knobs, switches and consoles, grinding the auto manufacturer's production line to a halt.
Toyota's Altona factory builds Australian variants of North America's Avalon and Camry autos for export to New Zealand, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
The strike forced Toyota to idle 2,000 workers without pay for two days when stock parts dried up on May 23. Toyota lost production of 500 autos. Ross Morten, public affairs manager, expected the shutdown to cost the company about A$18 million (US$10.3 million).