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Short Time Working For Masseys

Massey 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:

"That’s 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 O’Reilly, 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, Agco’s chairman, speaking from company headquarters in Georgia, said:

"The Coventry plant is our largest. They are suppliers of tractors all over the world.

"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 globe."

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.

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