Delphi workers back to full-time working

A 700-STRONG Suffolk workforce was given an early Christmas present when it went back to full-time working this week.Sudbury-based Delphi, which makes fuel injection components and diesel filters, is now back to working a five day week and three shifts following an upturn in demand from France and China.

A 700-STRONG Suffolk workforce was given some early Christmas cheer when it went back to full-time working this week.

Sudbury-based Delphi, which makes fuel injection components and diesel filters, is now back to working a five day week and three shifts following an upturn in demand from France and China.

Staff hours were cut after the global recession caused a massive slump in automotive industry.

The firm, which was praised earlier this year for its efforts to keep on its permanent staff, said the return to full-time working was “all thanks to the commitment of employees and management” at the hi-tech factory.

John Chandler, senior shop steward at Unite, said it was “great news” for employees, who had gone down to a four-day working week and taken a 10% pay cut.

“At the moment, we are back on five day working. It looks promising for the New Year but obviously they are just formulating the business plan,” he said.

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“We are glad to be back onto full time working obviously but as everybody, I should imagine, is saying, it's too early to say we are completely out of the woods.”

Human resources manager Steve Coppock said the firm had even recruited a number of temporary staff to help cope with additional work which was won because of the firm's ability to make high precision components.

“The global recession hit the automotive industry very hard, driving our output down to much lower volumes than in 2008,” he said.

“But we did everything we could to keep the team together and now everyone's commitment has been rewarded.”

He added: “Volumes are still lower than last year but the skills of our people and their willingness to accept the realities of recession over the summer have helped us take full advantage of new contracts from France and China that bring welcome employment to the region.”

Mr Chandler said they were still “just going from month to month” and remained cautious about the prospects for next year.

“The first quarter or so seems to be OK, but they were taken by surprise last time so I don't supposed they are prepared to commit themselves,” he said.

“It's great news that we are back onto full time pay and working full time, with certain areas working a bit of overtime as well - mainly the filter units.”

Around 100 agency staff were cut in November last year in response to the downturn, and a number of staff took voluntary redundancies, but the firm managed to avoid any compulsory redundancies among its permanent staff.