Toyota says performance, not religion, behind layoffs

Toyota says performance, not religion, behind layoffs

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Toyota says performance, not religion, behind layoffs

An employee works at the Toyota Adapazarı factory. Toyota says a production drop was behind layoff in March-April. Hürriyet photo

Toyota issued a written statement yesterday denying media reports that Toyota Turkey had laid of 143 employees in March and April due to their religious beliefs and practices.

Toyota said that due to the Japanese earthquake/tsunami last year and the continuing global economic crisis, there had been a significant drop in vehicle production. According to Toyota, while in 2006 Toyota Turkey produced 177,000 vehicles, this number dropped to 89,000 in 2011 and is projected to be 62,000 by the end of this year.

“Despite all our efforts to remedy the situation, these negative developments place a financial burden on our company. As a result, we had to layoff 143 employees based strictly on their annual performance,” read the company statement.

The statement also said that the local Toyota outfit had been unable to hire any new employees for the past four years due to the drop in production. In 2007 there were 3,100 employees and now the number is at 2,446, according to the figures released by the company.

“The claims that we asked employees about their religious beliefs and practices during interviews are impossible and never happened,” continued the statement. Toyota added that to facilitate religious freedom among its employees, the company has three prayer rooms open 24-hours a day and meal times are arranged with respect to prayer times and fasting schedules.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Turkish Finance Ministry issued a statement saying that its decision not to give Toyota’s light commercial vehicle Verso model a special consumption tax (SCT) break was that the vehicle too closely resembled the Verso passenger car model. Toyota subsequently pulled out of the local production of the Verso Active model in Turkey.