About 2,800 workers were sent home to-day from the Pressed Steel Company factory at Cowley, Oxford, after a fire had severely damaged the trim shop. A spokesman said afterwards that the company had had “wonderful offers of help with equipment from our friends throughout the industry.”
It looked as if lost production time could be thought of in terms of days. A statement later from the company said two-thirds of the trim shop was affected. The joiners’ Paint shop suffered only minor damage.
“The works cover a total of 180 acres and the damage done is to a very small proportion of the whole. Some 2,800 workers had to be sent home for the day, but much of this was due to ‘side effects’ on production or to temporary clearance of buildings for safety purposes. Many will be back at work on Monday. The labour force in the trim shop, numbering 800, will, however, be stood off for a few days. Production in the trim shop is concerned with car bodies for Rootes and Standard. There must be some interruption of production but every effort is being made to minimize its effect.”
The fire, fought in bitterly cold weather conditions, took three hours to bring under control. Ten fire engines were used to isolate the trim shop. Standard Motors, of Coventrv, who depend on Pressed Steel for bodies for their Vanguard car, are to adjust their production programme, a spokesman for the firm said yesterday.