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It's 31p peace profit.

THOUSANDS of Midland engineering workers who have lost pounds 150 in pay through the crippling campaign of weekly strikes will not get their money back until 1989.

Setllement of the dispute, which union leaders hailed as a major victory means no more than 31p a week extra in the pockets of many workers.

That was the shock calculation by Midland era plovers today as they began to gear up for full production after nine weeks of slrikes and overtime bans The increase - and the whole dispute - affects only minimum time rates, which bear no relation to the wages earned by the vast majorily of Midland engineering workers.

Under the deal hammered out by employers and union leaders at Gatwick yesterday. the skilled worker's minimum rate goes up from pounds (id to pounds 73 a week, and fov unskilled workers it goes up from pounds 45 to pounds 52.50.

Average But average weekly wages for skilled men in the Midlands - before overtime and shift payments - are reckoned to be more than pounds 80 a week, with many companies paying close to pounds 100.

The national minimum used only to calculate overrates, in moat firms, are time and shift premiums, This is how the syslem works.

The skilled men's rate at present is pounds 1.50 an hour. Overtime on weekdays i.s paid at time and one-third so someone working overtime receives iris normal hourly rate plus 50p. under the new deal the overtime premium will go up from 50p to 61p.

.So the typical Midland worker doing four hours overtime a week will get a pay rise of just 44p before tax.

Men who work shifts or regular Saturday overtime will get more but employers calculated today that few workers would Ret back the wages they lost in the dispute inside two or three year's.

Major Peter Forrest, chairman of the West Midland Engineering: Employers' Federation, said today: "For the first time in the history of national negotiations we have reached agreement with the unions which gives stability in working conditions For a period of. four years. This menas employers wiil now be able to plan ahead."
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 29, 2008
Words:358
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