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

BL's performance

26 September 1985

Letters Page of The Times
BL's performance
From Mr D. R. G. Andrews and Mr R. Horrocks.

David Andrews

Ray Horrocks

The comments about BL in the September 19 issue (Finance and Industry) perpetuated some of the outdated misconceptions about the company which in fairness to employees and all they have achieved, we must refute. The view that, like the newspaper industry, motor manufacturing in Britain is characterised by "grossly overmanned activities burdened by restrictive union practices and locked in outdated plants" is wrong, certainly as far as BL is concerned on all three counts.

  1. Overmanning in BL was successfully but painfully dealt with mainly during the period between 1979 and 1982 when the number of employees fell by 63,500. Currently BL's workforce stands at 80,000, exactly half the number employed in 1979.

  2. Restrictive practices were swept away in 1980 in a far-reaching and pioneering agreement for manufacturing industry which was accepted by employees as essential if new investment in facilities and model programmes were to be made and justified.

  3. Some 20 outdated factories have indeed been closed since 1979 and new facilities at Longbridge and Leyland have been built. Those which remain have been extensively re-equipped with advanced design, engineering and manufacturing facilities.

The sum total of these advances has been to more than double efficiency and productivity over the past five years. The Metro factory at Longbridge has been judged by an independent source as the most productive in Europe.

Losses among European volume motor manufacturers are currently running at around £1,000 million a year. This, we suggest is the background against which BL's performance should judged.

Yours faithfully

D.R.G. Andrews
Land Rover, Leyland
R. Horrocks, BL plc

106 Oxford Road
September 20th 1985

More news from the archive

Tue, 18 Jun 1985
Swindon engine plant The Government has approved BL's corporate plan which involved further collaboration between Austin Rover and...
Wed, 19 Jun 1985
Engine prototype already ahead of BL targets By Clifford Webb. The new K series engine at the heart of British Leyland's battle to...
Tue, 20 Aug 1985
200 will lose jobs in Austin Rover cutback By Clifford Webb, Motoring Correspondent Two hundred Austin Rover assembly workers are...
Tue, 17 Sep 1985
THE GUARDIAN Austin Rover Managing Director Harold Musgrove discusses Project XX at the Frankfurt Motor Show. "This car will challenge...
Thu, 19 Sep 1985
BL falls £11m into red after Jaguar sell-off By Ian Griffiths BL, the state-owned car group. plunged into red in the first half of...
Fri, 27 Sep 1985
GLASGOW HERALD Earlier Closure Likely For Bathgate Vehicle Plant Leyland’s Bathgate truck plant is likely to close earlier than...
Tue, 15 Oct 1985
Austin to shed 800 workers By Clifford Webb Austin Rover is expected to tell union leaders that it is closing toolmaking operations...
Mon, 28 Oct 1985
Mark Snowdon of Austin Rover discusses the Honda Legend and the forthcoming project XX. "In their working with suppliers and their...
Thu, 28 Nov 1985
By David Simpson , Business Correspondent Jaguar Cars, the BL subsidiary privatised last year, is to spend £37 million on building...
Sat, 07 Dec 1985
Austin shed 750 tool room jobs By Clifford Webb Motoring Correspondent Austin Rover is closing two plants and making 750 tool room...