By Clifford Webb
British Leyland’s first big cutback in labour is under way. About 1,000 workers will be made redundant at Jaguar, Coventry, and a further 143 at SU Birmingham, the subsidiary which supplies all the corporation’s carburettors.
A Leyland spokesman said last night: “Discussions are taking place at Jaguar, on the question of voluntary redundancies following a contraction in demand, especially from the United States.”
Union sources said the talks which began last week will continue today and are in line with the undertaking given by senior management at a recent meeting with representatives of the corporation’s. 168,000 employees in Britain. Wherever possible redundancies would be achieved by voluntary means. The unions have been warned, however, that 750 production workers and 250 staff must go by voluntary or other means. The alternative, which is not acceptable to the company, is for the whole of the 7,000 strong labour force to go on to three day working for an indefinite period. They have already been on a four day week for the past month.
The present redundancy move confirms trade reports that besides the sharp fall in American orders, home marker sales are also dropping. The XJ6 is widely available for immediate delivery and stocks are said to be piling up at the factory and in dealers’ show rooms.
The redundancies at SU Carburetters reflect the general cutback in production schedules now taking place in British Leyland and other car factories. SU also supply other United Kingdom and European motor firms including Volvo, Sweden.