1. Aston Martin Hit By First Strike

    By @mrpauldunphy on 2003-08-07

    Aston Martin, the luxury car maker owned by Ford, faces its first ever strike when workers at its two UK factories down tools at the start of the 9 o’clock shift tomorrow morning (8th August).

    The strike is over a new shift pattern – nicknamed the Martini shift – which the Transport & General Workers’ Union claims has made workers fear that they can be told to work any time and anywhere the company wants.

    The walkout will hit production at Newport Pagnell, Bucks, and Bloxham, near Banbury in Oxfordshire. The union claims 430 workers will take part.

    Aston Martin workers work the longest hours of any in Ford’s Premier Automotive Group but are at the lower end of the company’s pay league,’ said John Street of the T&GWU. ‘They have reacted with some anger after being faced with these demands for compulsory overtime.

    With the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish replacing BMW as James Bond’s car in the movies, the group has been planning to increase production of the £120,000-plus sports cars from 1500 to 5000 a year.

    Street said: The company expects to bring in new shifts which brings pressure on the workers and leads to a Spartan lifestyle. This is not a militant workforce but an angry and frustrated one.