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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
NATIONAL NEWS: Car workers reject walkout at MG Rover
Financial Times; Mar 16, 2002 - By JONATHON GUTHRIE

Workers at MG Rover, the British carmaker, have voted overwhelmingly against a strike, averting a return to the industrial strife of the past. Workers at the Longbridge plant in south Birmingham had twice rejected a 2.5 per cent pay increase and changes to flexible working practices, to the chagrin of unions, which had recommended the deal.

The TGWU and Amicus unions announced yesterday that 3,000 of their combined membership of 4,000 had opted not to strike.

The management and unions had appeared at odds as to why Longbridge was on the brink of industrial action. Unions said discontent centred on the company's handling of flexible working. It had agreed to pay employees for hours worked over a benchmark requirement between 1999 and 2002.

But unions said resentment had flared at the group's refusal to cancel a "debt" of hours owed by those whose services were less in demand.

Bob Beddow, human resources director at MG Rover, said there was a deeper problem: "There are still people here at Longbridge who do not want flexible working at all, even though we need it to maintain competitive advantage."

Flexible working is now the norm in the automotive industry, and MG Rover's version is not extreme.

Under the deal endorsed by workers, employees working extra hours will "bank" 75 per cent of the time and be paid for the balance. A similar formula will apply to staff with a time debt. Night shifts will be excluded from flexible working.

MG Rover said: "This is good news. Now we can get back to the business of building up the company."

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of Amicus, which claims 1,000 members at Longbridge, said: "Common sense has prevailed. A strike would have dealt a fatal blow to MG Rover. Now both sides need to work harder than ever to secure the future of the plant."

Meanwhile, MG Rover said no conclusion had yet been reached in negotiations with China Brilliance, a Chinese automotive group, on collaborative development of new models.

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Guardians Version

City briefing: Strike threat at MG Rover ends The Guardian - United Kingdom; Mar 16, 2002

The threat of strikes at car group MG Rover ended yesterday when workers voted overwhelmingly against taking industrial action in a dispute over pay and hours.

Union leaders said the vote had averted a possible "catastrophe" at the Longbridge-based firm.

Members of the Amicus Union voted by 85% against strikes while members of the Transport and General Workers Union rejected action by three to one.

The company has offered a 2.5% pay rise but there was conflict over flexible hours. Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of Amicus, said: "Common sense has prevailed. Strike action would have been a catastrophe for the company."

A spokeswoman for the TGWU said further talks must be held and that the success of the company depended on the support of the workforce.

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Common Sense prevails

Well good to see common sense prevailing, the last thing MGR needs now is a discontent workforce being sloppy making cars.

That would strangely familiar to the late 70's.
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