Ferguson tractor workers in Coventry are on a four day week leading up to Christmas.
The American bosses of Agco, which owns Massey-Ferguson, have assured the unions that
the future of the Banner Lane plant in Coventry is secure, but warned of short time
working among the 800 workers.
That started today and workers face an uncertain period leading up to Christmas.
One member of staff, who declined to give his name said:
"Thats all we need at this time of year. We are pleased that the plant
appears to have a future. A lot of people in the workforce had begun to fear the worst and
rumours were sweeping through the factory.
"But short-time working means less in our pay packets at the most expensive time
of the year especially for family men with young children."
Gerry OReilly, regional officer of the Transport Workers Union, said meetings had
been held with the company to try to determine how long short time would last.
"We hope it will not be for too long," he said.
Bob Ratliff, Agcos chairman, speaking from company headquarters in Georgia, said:
"The Coventry plant is our largest. They are suppliers of tractors all over the
"There was never any question of anything but a future for it and we hope that
future is a long one. But the plant is affected by trading conditions throughout the
Agco has had to cut back on production and staffing levels worldwide after announcing
net sales for the first nine months of the year of 1,815.6 million dollars 400
million dollars down on the same period last year.