Strippers add soft personal touch to Toyota workers meetings in Philippines

Ryann Connell

Oh what a feeling! Toyota Motor Co.'s Philippines subsidiary makes Camrys, Corollas and now, according to Shukan Asahi, whoopee!

Nine workers from Toyota Motor Philippines were punished after they used a company meeting to call in a stripper.

The lass who bared all was performing as part of a Toyota-sanctioned activity called "Personal Touch," or PT.

Toyota started running the personal touch programs in Japan and kept them up at its offshoots across the globe. "It's been one of the company's labor policies in implementation since the late '60s," a former Toyota worker tells Shukan Asahi.

Personal touch meetings are supposed to provide a chance for managers to communicate with the staff beneath them. They're still run in Japan, but they're called fureai katsudo (mixing activities) here.

"Toyota has had some labor problems in the Philippines in the past. In 1998, workers formed a labor union, but the company wouldn't recognize it and fired 277 members, sparking a series of strikes. Then another union popped up, but it was the company's running dog," a Toyota Philippines worker says. "Toyota subsidizes personal touch meetings, paying a sum according to the number of workers who turn up. It's supposed to be a way of buttering up workers so they don't want to get involved in union issues."

Toyota Philippines officials acknowledge that punishments were handed down, but remain tight-lipped about the small stuff.

"Personal touch meetings usually take place outside of the factory, so we don't have concrete details about what took place," a spokesman for the subsidiary tells Shukan Asahi.

Toyota in Japan also admits knowing about the strip show case, but doesn't seem too perturbed by it.

"We've heard that some people went too far and were punished for it, but we regard this as a local matter and will respect whatever decision was made locally," a Toyota spokesman in Japan says.

It seems unlikely that there'll be any more soul-stripping over the erotic dance.

"Strip shows are part and parcel of wining and dining during personal touch meetings. Workers have a lottery to see who gets to sleep with the stripper and some employees have actually done the deed," a Toyota Philippines worker tells Shukan Asahi. "Do Japanese employees attend? We may sometimes invite them as guests."

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