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Geoffrey Robinson writes to The Times

29 November 1979

Geoffrey Robinson MP, former Jaguar boss writes to the Times.
BL management
From Mr Geoffrety Robinson MP for Coventry, North West (Labour)


Your leader " At Stake: 100,000 Jobs " (November 27) was a commonplace of over-simplification. If you ask seven people out of eight if they want to keep their jobs, the vote is as predictable as was the outcome of the latest BL ballot. For you, and worse still for BL management, to interpret it as an " overwhelming expression of support for Sir Michael" is a dangerous self-delusion.

As any objective MP representing a car constituency in the West Midlands will tell you, the credibilitv of Sir Michael and his senior colleagues is now at an all-time low. And is this surprising if one considers that Sir Michael has failed as a chief executive all three acid tests of management in the motor car industry?

BL's market share is down; BL Cars has failed to generate internally adequate funds; and its manpower productivity as measured by cars produced per direct operative is also down.

Add to this the constant chopping and changing of basic facility planning which directly affects the workforce and you can well imagine their bewilderment and mistrust. Sir Michael has now been in charge of BL for over two years. If, as you say, " a week can be a long time in industry " then certainly two years, which have been boom years for the motor industry whatever the future may hold, are time enough to get a company pointing in the right direction.

Sir Michael, of whom I initially had high hopes, has manifestly failed to achieve this. Central to his failure has been his inability to win the unions and men over. Until he and his senior management achieve this, BL cars w ill continue its decline. And in this light, irrespective of any other considerations and whatever the outcome of the three man inouirv, the peremptory dismissal of Mr Derek Robinson can only be judged an unjustifiable and unnecessarily counterproductive decision.

Yours etc.
House of Commons.

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