Selling your classic car? It's FREE to list your car on Honest John Classics | No thanks

Leyland lifeline

17 October 1979

Union leaders recommend to BL workers that they accept the Edwardes plan in a secret ballot.

By Peter Hitchens

Leyland chief Sir Michael Edwardes scored a major victory last night in his bid to streamline the ailing car giant. A vital meeting of union leaders decided to back Sir Michael's plan for staff cuts and factory closures. The unions are willing to back an immediate ballot of all Leyland's 164,000 workers. They want the workforce to vote on two separate statements - one from shop stewards urging rejection, and one from the unions joint executive recommending a cautious acceptance.

And they will urge all their members to back acceptance. The surprise good news came last-night after a two-and-a-half hour meeting of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions. Confederation president Ken Baker said: "The executive, because of the seriousness of the position, have made a decision to hold a ballot of our members and we would not disagree if that was a joint operation with the company."

General secretary Mr Alex Ferry made things clearer stil, saying: "What we're recommending is acceptance of the Edwardes plan."

Mr Baker said that if Sir Michael did not agree to their plan, they would go ahead with the ballot anyway. The decision followed the sternest warning yet that Leyland workers face a choice between survival and a drastic plan involving the closure of 13 plants and 25,000 redundancies.

National Enterprise Board chairman SirLeslie Murphy had warned: "British Leyland is nearer the precipice than it has ever been. If the workforce rejects the proposals the company is making then I do not see how British Leyland can survive in its present form."

Sir Leslie, whose backing is crucial to any further Government aid to Leyland, gave total support to Sir Michael's plan.

More news from the archive

Wed, 10 Oct 1979
THE GUARDIAN SHOP FLAW By Angela Singer A workforce of 360 men and one woman, Mrs Pat Harvey, work in the spanking new British Leyland...
Wed, 10 Oct 1979
DAILY EXPRESS LEYLAND CHIEF TELLS MARCHERS: I'M NOT BLUFFING By Peter Hitchens Leyland protest marchers felt the full blast of their...
Thu, 11 Oct 1979
DAILY EXPRESS LEYLAND WAGE DEMAND By Declan Cunningham Leyland floor-sweepers want £94 for a 39-hour week. That is just one item...
Sun, 14 Oct 1979
DAILY EXPRESS UNIONS SLAP DOWN LEYLAND SURVIVAL PLAN British Leyland was pushed nearer the point of no return last night when 250...
Mon, 15 Oct 1979
DAILY EXPRESS JOBS AXE VOTE FACES LEYLAND WORKERS By Barry Devney Leyland boss Sir Michael Edwardes is almost certain to ballot his...
Thu, 18 Oct 1979
DAILY EXPRESS NEW BLOW TO LEYLAND PLAN By Peter Hitchens British Leyland's hopes of winning full support from its workforce for its...
Sat, 20 Oct 1979
DAILY MIRROR Vote Starts At Leyland By Geoffrey Goodman A unique ballot to decide the fate of the ailing Leyland motor giant begins...
Wed, 24 Oct 1979
DAILY MIRROR CHATTING UP THE BOYS AT THE BENCHES By Geoffrey Goodman By the end of this week virtually all British Leyland's 165,000...
Fri, 26 Oct 1979
DAILY MIRROR Car Junket Rap British Leyland are going on a £1 million spree to launch their Mini Metro car. But they sailed into a...
Thu, 01 Nov 1979
THE AGE Australia Car Men Accept Dismissals Plan By Ian Frykberg Sir Michael Edwardes, chairman of the beleagured car manufacturer,...