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

Further funds for BL depend on staff cuts, Sir Michael hints

17 October 1980

By Donald Macintyre Labour Reporter

British Leyland last night held firm in its dispute with four white-collar unions after a thinly veiled warning from Sir Michael Edwardes, the chairman, that the dismissal of up to 3,300 staff was essential to the future of its investment programme.

The unions have called on their members to operate an immediate overtime ban in protest against the management's formal notice that it intends to issue compulsory redundancy notices from November 21. Asked about the dispute, which is threatening to disrupt production of the new Mini Metro, Sir Michael, who was touring the Motor Show in Birmingham, said: "This is a matter for BL Cars ; however, I can say that the BL board is certainly not going to be able to put the plans to the Government for further funds unless BL Cars , are able to reduce their fixed expenses according to the plan they have submitted to us. How they deal with that cost reduction is, of course, up to them."

The gloss put on Sir Michael's remarks by Leyland executives last night was that the request for new funding for its investment programme which will be contained in the corporate plan had to carry with it a firm commitment to reduce white collar staff from the present level of 22,500 to just over 18,000. Such a figure is understood to be already, contained in the BL Cars submission. Senior union officials, however, remained just as adamant yesterday that while they were hot resisting the planned reduction itself, they would persist with an overtime ban in protest against the use of compulsory redundancies.

The ban is threatening the production and development of a number of new models. At Longbridge, for example, the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff, which expects to bear about half the planned redundancies, has members responsible for computerized stock and production control, who are now working overtime. A series of mass meetings of association members in various plants is expected today, and Mr Roy Grantham, the union's general secretary, said last night that he expected most to endorse and begin operating the ban. Mr Grantham, who with senior officials from other unions will he attending a meeting next week with Mr Raymond Horrocks, the managing director of BL Cars, to discuss the dispute, said last night that the company was " rushing its fences ". He did not believe that progress would be made until "the company accepts the strength of feeling among our members ".

That would be expressed through the overtime ban. They were not opposed to a "sensible and reasonable" method of achieving the cut backs through voluntary redundancies. The full extent of the response to the call, and its impact, is unlikely to become apparent until early next week.

BL will today reopen negotiations with union leaders representing 73,000 hourly paid car workers. The company is not expected to make more than a slight improvement in the 6-1 per cent offer made.

More news from the archive

Sat, 04 Oct 1980
Production of British Leyland's new Mini Metro car should be fully resumed on Monday after 500 strikers agreed to accept a peace agreement...
Wed, 08 Oct 1980
The Austin Mini-Metro is launched today
Thu, 09 Oct 1980
Forty rectifiers who had downed tools at Longbridge, Birmingham where Leyland's new Metro is being made, ended their strike last night....
Wed, 15 Oct 1980
By Peter Waymark The board of BL has given an important vote of confidence to Jaguar by, approving the concept of a new range of luxury...
Thu, 16 Oct 1980
By David Felton Labour Reporter Four white collar unions have instructed their 22,500 members at British Leyland to start an immediate...
Sat, 18 Oct 1980
HOME NEWS By David Felton Labour Reporter Mass meetings of white-collar workers at several BL plants yesterday voted to support the...
Sat, 18 Oct 1980
By Clifford Webb Midlands Industrial Correspondent Trade unions representing 73,000 BL car workers yesterday rejected a final offer...
Tue, 21 Oct 1980
By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent Sir Michael Edwardes, BL chairman, will be going to the Government next week for...
Thu, 23 Oct 1980
The last MGB is produced today at Abingdon
Fri, 24 Oct 1980
BL selling site as factory units By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent BL Cars, which has more than £30m worth of closed...