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Extended: Unrest at Aston Martin over structuring

On April 13, Aston Martin workers took strike action over pay conditions when 656 Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) members walked out an hour before the end of their shift.

The manufacturer, which has recently been acquired by Prodrive, is offering workers a pay deal worth 4% in year one and inflation plus 0.5% in year two, plus a merit payment worth an average of 2.25%.

T&G says the offer was rejected because of pay differentials between workers doing the same job.

Des Quinn, T&G regional industrial organizer, says: “The message from the ballots we’ve had and the feedback from the shopfloor is the company hasn’t done enough to sort out inequalities in the pay structures.”

Aston Martin has issued a statement saying that its offer was a fair one and that union leadership initially recommended its acceptance.

“It is therefore sad that when we are about to enter one of the brightest points in the company’s future that we have union members voting not to accept these substantial improvements to pay and benefits,” says Ulrich Bez, chief executive officer at Aston Martin.

The manufacturer declined to give any further comment about what action it would take next and whether production would be affected.

In recent reports Dave Richards, owner of Prodrive, stated he hopes to increase production to 10,000 cars annually by 2010, adding a further 200 factory workers to its 1,800 staff, while continuing to support Ford’s short-term plan to release the DBS in October and the Rapide in late 2009.

Richards also intends to lower production costs by shopping around for better deals on components and to increase global sales through expansion of its dealer network, with emphasis on emerging markets such as China, Russia and India.

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