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Jobs axed in BL shake-up

23 May 1984

JOBS AXED IN BL SHAKE-UP
By Paul Wilenius and Frank Urquart

Both Mr Tebbit and the Prime Minister spoke of Government regret at the closures. But that failed to appease angry Labour MPs. They denounced the decision, called for Mr Tebbit's resignation, and urged the occupation of the doomed factories. That last call drew an immediate response. Workers locked themselves in the Bathgate plant in a desperate bid to save their jobs. Union leaders promised a fierce fight to save the factory.

None of the 500 trucks stockpiled being allowed to leave. The Labour attack was led by Edinburgh MP Dr Gavin Strang. He said the Bathgate closure was " Industrial sabotage."

"Spending millions of pounds on social benefits to the families of people around Bathgate —where male unemployment would rise to over 50 per cent — instead of investing in modern production and facilities, would be a criminal and vindictive attack on Scotland's industrial base," he declared. Shadow Industry Secretary Peter Shore said Mr Tebbit'a statement was " appalling." He condemned the closures as " savage."

"We fear this means the end of the commercial vehicles business in Britain ," he added.

Jobs lost would be far greater when the component supplies were taken into account.

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