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A Solution for Transnational Labour Regulation?

Company Internationalization and European Works Councils in the Automotive Sector

Axel Hauser-Ditz, Markus Hertwig, Ludger Pries and Luitpold Rampeltshammer

This book examines the role that European employee representatives play in the restructuring of firms. In a globalized economy, company internationalization and transnational restructuring are of growing concern for employees and trade unions. In the European Union, the still rather new institution of European works councils provides basic rights for employees. Using examples of eight large automotive manufacturers like Volkswagen, GM or Toyota, the volume analyzes the internationalization strategies of the companies and the effects of European works councils, pointing to a high degree of variation in strategies and effectiveness of cross-border employee representation.
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Chapter 9: Toyota Motor Europe (TME)

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Chapter 9:  Toyota Motor Europe (TME)

9.1  The Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Toyota Motor Europe (TME)

The Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is one of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers based on a range of measures. With more than 9 million vehicles produced in 2008, it has the highest sales figures by volume of any automotive company.163 It also had the highest sales figures in financial terms, with a turnover of €168 billion (for the financial year 2008/9).164 Over the past ten years, Toyota has emerged as a byword for quality and profitability. The company’s success is widely attributed to its highly-advanced production system (Toyota Production System, TPS), which has become the reference standard for the entire branch (Womack et al., 1992). This is embedded in a company culture based on long-term job tenure, high investment in company-specific employee knowledge, and harmonious employment relations.

The Toyota group directly employees some 320,000 staff worldwide in more than 500 companies.165 However, the core undertaking, with twelve plants and the development centre in Toyota City, has only 70,000 employees. The majority of the company’s workforce is employed in its numerous subsidiaries, both within Japan and abroad. There are fifty-one manufacturing plants in Japan alone, either wholly or majority owned by TMC. In addition, there are subsidiaries for sales, development and logistics.166 Although the group has expanded beyond the automotive sector – Toyota Industries Corporation is the world leader in lift trucks...

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