By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
BL has told shop stewards at its Swindon car body plant that 400 redundancies are needed because of the planned closure of MG Abingdon next month and the extensive short time being worked at Rover Solihull. Management hopes that sufficent volunteers will come forward from the 4,000 Swindon employees to avoid compulsory redundancies. The workforce there has already shrunk by about 600 in the past year, all achieved by natural wastage and non-replacement of staff.
Swindon produces’ complete body shells’ for the MGB and TR7 sports cars and sub-assemblies for the Rover saloon range. It also presses a wide range of body panels for other BL cars, including the side panels for the new Mini Metro which will be launched in two months’ time. The pressings operation is not affected by the present cut-back.
Some 3,000 Rover workers began working a four-day week last week and have been told that this could continue until Christmas. The shorter week was introduced because of the depressed state of the car market and the need to restrict stocks of existing Rovers to give the best possible start to 1981 specification models.