7,000 Pressed Steel Men On Short Time At Cowley
From our Correspondent
OXFORD, OCT. 29
The Pressed Steel Company, which makes car bodies for a large section of the motor industry, announced today that the number of workers on short time at its Cowley factory will be increased to about 7,000 this week.
This includes 5,000 pieceworkers, of whom 4,000 are already working only two, three and four days a week. The other 2,000 are time workers on fixed earnings, and this is the first time this year they have been affected. They will be on four days. Most of the 7,000 are production line workers. Both day and night shifts are involved.
The company says it hopes that the situation will not deteriorate further, and that it can maintain its policy of work sharing. The rest of the 9,500 workers at Cowley are concerned mainly with the forward programme for car bodies- working in the fitting, machine, die, pattern and experimental shops.
The present arrangements mean that the factory will practically be closed every Friday. So far this year the company’s short-time working has been attributed to internal production adjustments and to the lull in car demand usual before the motor show. The company says its latest decision reflects the seasonal fluctuations in demand “which are traditional in autumn and winter not only in this country but in many parts of the world “.
The large scale manufacturers of components, especially car bodies, were usually among the first to be affected by such fluctuations, whether the tendency was upwards or downwards. This was in part due to the fact that the component manufacturers were almost at the beginning of the production “pipeline”. The company goes on to say that it feels this situation can best be dealt with by a general spread-over of short-time working rather than by creating large scale redundancies in certain sections of the plant. Other alternatives have been examined. In common with other members of the industry the-company was trying actively to balance as far as possible its output and labour force over the whole year.
Today’s announcement comes after talks two weeks ago with the works committee and the trade unions, who successively won a short reprieve for the time workers, and who accept the present situation.