23 October 1998

Axe hangs over 400 at MFplant

ABOUT 400 jobs, 16% of the workforce, are to go at the Massey Ferguson tractor plant in Coventry. Parent company Agco blames the cuts on the economic crisis in Asia, and the strong £.

Although other plants worldwide have been affected, Coventry is the hardest hit, says chairman Robert Ratliff. About half of the 20,000 units made each year are exported to 140 countries, and sales are 10-15% down on last year. The slump in UK farm income has exacerbated the effect, cutting domestic sales by 39%.

Although Mr Ratliff expects the global market to contract a further 10-15% next year, he maintains no further job cuts will be needed. But a longer recession could mean further consolidation within the industry, he adds. &#42