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Leyland DAF workers vote to accept cut in pay

NEARLY 1,000 workers at the Leyland DAF van-making plant have voted overwhelmingly to take a pay cut of up to 8 per cent to smooth the way for a management buyout.

The management team, formed to buy the Birmingham plant from the receiver, indicated that banks had insisted on the reduction before backing the venture. Managers are hoping to announce a successful bid by the end of the week.

Most employees, from the managing director down, are taking a cut in earnings of about 5 per cent. Some white-collar staff will get 8 per cent less because they received a 3 per cent rise at the beginning of the year. Skilled manual workers on a basic of pounds 250 a week will, therefore, forfeit pounds 12.50 a week and pounds 60,000-a-year senior directors will receive pounds 3,000 a year less.

In a ballot majority of 85 per cent, production workers also accepted an 'annualised hours' deal which means they will man the production lines for the same number of hours a year, but could work four hours more or less a week depending on demand.

The management team said the company hoped a profit-related pay scheme might make up some of the pay cuts.

John Allen, chief negotiator for the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union at Leyland Daf, said the unions recommended the package to the workers, but accepted the cuts reluctantly. 'We only see this as an interim measure to allow the company to be relaunched. We do not see it lasting any longer than is absolutely necessary. We will be back in to negotiate as soon as the company achieves profitability,' he added.

Managers at the lorry-making division at Leyland and a parts warehouse at Chorley, both in Lancashire, are also attempting to buy their plants and are expected to call for a similar gesture from their workers.