By CLIFFORD WEBB,
Midland Industrial Correspondent
Shop floor management at British Leyland plants yesterday reassured workers that reports of 30,000 redundancies in the new group during the next two years were groundless. Yesterday’s report in Business News, in which Sir Donald Stokes, chief executive of British Leyland, described the redundancy reports .as ‘..quite unfounded’, was frequently quoted to support this view.
Maurice Edelman, Labour M.P. for Coventry, North, said he had inquired into the reports and was satisfied they were without foundation. He said: ‘I deeply regret that at a time when the industry is expanding, these damaging rumours, which can only cause anxiety among the workers, should be put into circulation.’
It is widely accepted that the labour force of British Leyland will be reduced by the rationalization of products and plants, which must be done if the comrpany is to set the pace in world markets. Speculation about the size of possible cuts was inevitable, but the speculators seem to have done their sums incorrectly. It is likely they chose man-power per car produced as the yard-stick for assessing the efficiency of British Leyland. But this method contains many pitfalls, such as the ratio of staff to shop floor men
There is also another important differential in British Leyland’s case. Some 40.000 of the 110,000 labour force in B.M.C-‘where the biggest cuts will undoubtedly fall-are employed at Pressed Steel Fisher. Europe’s biggest body-builder. S.U. Carburettors and Morris Radiators, all doing a lot of work for car manufacturers outside the group in Britain and on the Continent.