Rolls-Royce workers agree to pay freeze

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The Independent Online
WORKERS at car makers Rolls-Royce Motors have accepted a pay freeze after one of the biggest slumps in sales experienced by the company, writes Barrie Clement.

World-wide demand for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars has dropped by 60 per cent since the record levels attained in 1990, falling a fifth last year.

John Edwards, the company's chief union convenor, said the wage pause had been reluctantly accepted at the works in Crewe to safeguard the 2,400 jobs remaining. In 1990 more than 5,000 personnel were employed at the plant where 60 per cent of the line workers are skilled compared to 20 per cent in mass production plants. On average Rolls-Royce workers produce 30 cars a week compared with 60 an hour at other motor plants.

Mr Edwards said: 'Obviously the employees are not too happy, although they were warned about it last year. There were 950 redundancies last year and we're on short-time working at the moment. We realise, however, we have got to co-operate with the company's survival plan.'

Mr Edwards said that as soon as there was an upturn the workers would seek to share in it, having agreed to implement new working practices. A company spokesman said the 1,200 workers who were on a four-day week would revert to five days soon to ensure a stable level of stocks.