John Cranage and Catherine Lillington, Birmingham Post, 4th March, 2009
Workers at beleaguered Birmingham vanmaker LDV have voted to accept a ten per cent pay cut as the fight to save the business goes on.
The company’s 700-strong workforce is believed to have accepted management proposals to cut wages and production virtually unanimously at a mass meeting at the Washwood Heath factory. The package of cuts is believed to have been drawn up by senior executives trying to float a management buy-out of the company in order to make the business more attractive to investors.
Chairman Erik Eberhardson said in the event of the MBO succeeding production at LDV would resume on a three days a week basis from April 6. On that basis the company would produce 200 units of its Maxus range of vehicles a week.
There was no news of the progress of the MBO – which has failed to win cash backing from the Government – which was launched after LDV’s parent group, the Russian commercial vehicle company Gaz, announced it was selling the business it bought for £50 million in 2006.
Spot-welder Graham Hickman, aged 43, said after the meeting that he hoped the show of support from the shopfloor would be enough to raise cash for the MBO.
“Everyone’s leaving feeling quite uplifted and I’m a little hopeful I have got a future here,” Mr Hickman said. “The feeling is the show of solidarity should do the trick. The ‘no’ vote was hardly noticeable. “Erik Eberhardson thanked us all for our support.”
Press-setter Brian Morson, aged 61, has worked at the factory about 34 years and been through four different managements. He said: “We were voting to accept a pay reduction of ten per cent. We will give all our support to the management buyout. The feeling among us was we had to do everything we could to keep going. I fully support this, there are too many jobs involved not to. The pay cut is something we’ve got to do.”
Maintenance-fitter Paul Finn, aged 45, from Yardley, agreed workers had to accept the pay cut, adding: “Hopefully I’ve still got a job.”
Roy Love said: “I’m just hoping the Government come up now with the cash and help us out. Shop floor workers gave 100 per cent of their backing. I just hope now we can pull through.”
Mr Eberhardson said following the meeting: “This latest news is one of a number of steps being taken to improve the business plan for potential investors. I am now more confident that than ever that the MBO is the best solution for LDV, the economy, the workforce and all LDV’s valued business partners.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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