The troubled Austin Rover car giant was given a shot in the arm yesterday by its normally hard-line shop stewards. They voted to accept the company’s latest pay offer, which gives 26,000 shop-floor workers rises of up to £21 a week over two years.
The stewards recommended the deal at a meeting in Coventry, after the company withdrew controversial proposals for new shift patterns. Transport union official Mick Murphy said the company’s change of heart had led to the breakthrough; Manual workers will be urged to accept the deal in secret ballots at 11 plants over the next week.
Austin Rover bosses had been expecting a major battle. But engineering shop steward Ken Cure said, ” Our people recognise the climate in the industry is difficult.” The deal gives workers 3 per cent on basic pay, plus a possible £43.50 a week in bonuses. New average basic pay will rise to £152.45 a week in the second year.