You are on page 1of 3

Labour

Labour refers to the workers and the manual work they carry out (Oxford, 2015). It is an
essential part of the automotive industry to upkeep operations processes. Every organisation
hires employees based on the scale of production. For example, mass producers of middleclass (affordable) cars such as Toyota require more employees to operate various machineries
in the assembly line, delegate tasks to subordinates and carry out decisional tasks, while
luxury car makers such as Rolls-Royce require fewer staffs to carry out the similar tasks,
largely due to their policy of prioritising quality over quantity.
As the demand for cars increase, manufacturers are implementing changes to the
organisation to keep up with the consumers demands and eventually outdoing their
competitors. These measures are to counteract the threats that exist in the industry, such as
increasing demands for cars and conflicts with the labour unions. Implementing adaptations
such as lean production system and improving labour relations respectively helps
counteracting those threats.
Threats
The main threat to the automotive industry is the inability to produce enough vehicles
due to time shortage. Currently, most organisations that run on a two-shift work schedule
would not risk hiring more employees, which raises their basic costs. On the contrast,
manufacturers need these employees to keep up with the current demands for vehicles.
Therefore, manufacturers need a long-term solution that expands both their workforce and
profits.
Labour strikes led by labour unions is another issue that boggles the industry. The
motives of these strikes are to boycott the foreign culture introduced in the local branches and
demand for a pay raise. For example, employees of Maruti-Suzuki in Manesar, India went on
a strike against their employers to boycott the Japanese culture introduced in their company
(Karunakaran, 2014). Many organisations implement their culture on their foreign branches
which causes culture shocks, reduced socialisation, and discrimination at workplace.
Improvements in the labour relations is needed to overcome this issue.
Adaptations
The process of making profits while increasing the labour force requires substantial
amount of planning. Implementing the lean production system helps familiarising with the

situation. This assembly-line system (Rouse, 2009) minimises input while maintaining
quality and maximising productivity. Pioneered by Toyota, this system works best when a
third work-shift is introduced in an organisation. Currently, Toyota is preparing to globalise
this system after successful implementation in France-based plant. Greimel (2014) stated that
adding the third working shift reduces the need of opening new plants to keep up with the
consumer needs. Toyota with their three shifts scheduling are also capable to outperform their
competitors that run a two-shift schedule (Lehndorff, 2011). With the third shift in place, the
employment rate of a nation rises, leading to improvements in economic sector.
Next, to prevent labour strikes, organisations have adapted to practice a certain level
of leniency regarding their corporate culture to bring the best out of their employees
(Karunakaran, 2014). For example, local cultures should be adjusted to suit the employees of
a foreign branch to foster a healthy and positive working environment for employers and their
employees. Furthermore, employees demands must be taken seriously via negotiations
between the labour unions and employers. Organisations tend to handle these demands
professionally in order to protect their investments and highly-skilled employees (Hardy &
Kozek, 2011).
(523 words)

References
1. OXFORD

DICTIONARIES

(2015)

Labour.

[Online]

Available

from:

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/labour [Accessed: 17 July 2015]


2. ROUSE,
M.
(2009)
Lean
Production.
[Online]
Available
from:
http://searchmanufacturingerp.techtarget.com/definition/lean-production

[Accessed:

19 July 2015]
3. GREIMEL, H. (2014) Toyota drops resistance to 3-shift plants. [Online] Available
from: http://www.autonews.com/article/20141027/OEM01/310279965/toyota-dropsresistance-to-3-shift-plants [Accessed: 19 July 2015]
4. LEHNDORFF, S. (2001) Factories with Breathing Power - The Change in WorkingTime Organisation in the European Automotive Industry - EconBiz.com 2015.
[ONLINE] Available at:

http://www.econbiz.de/Record/factories-with-breathing-

power-the-change-in-working-time-organisation-in-the-europaen-automotiveindustry-lehndorff-steffen/10005857109 [Accessed 19 July 2015].


5. KARUNAKARAN, N. (2014) After Honda & Maruti Suzuki, Toyota faces labour
unrest in India; are Japanese cos insensitive? [Online] Available from:
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-03-27/news/48630012_1_marutisuzuki-india-osamu-suzuki-rc-bhargava [Accessed: 19 July 2015].
6. HARDY, J. & KOZEK, W. (2011) Changing workplace relations in foreign
investment firms in Poland. Employee Relations. 33 (4). p 379.