JOBS AXE VOTE FACES LEYLAND WORKERS
By Barry Devney
Leyland boss Sir Michael Edwardes is almost certain to ballot his workforce on plans to axe 25,000 jobs. Following the rejection of his survival scheme by 250 senior shop stewards, he will tell his board on Wednesday that there must be a vote by the 160,000 workers. But it was becoming clear last night that militants will try to wreck the vital poll. Left-wingers are worried by the success of Sir Michael’s previous attempts at taking issues direct to the workforce.
So word will probably go round the factories that if voting papers are issued they should be thrown away , or handed back uncompleted. Mr Derek Robinson, chairman of the powerful shop stewards combine, said yesterday yesterday that in the event of a vote ” there could be a recommendation to reject the proposals and a possible boycott may be considered.”
Sir Michael would not say yesterday whether there would be a ballot. But as he walked his dog near his West London home he did say : ” I query whether 250 shop stewards are speaking for 160,000 people”
National union officers , who had given an ” amber light ” to the axing of jobs 10 days ago ,are to make a final attempt to avert the need for a crisis vote.
A report from West Germany shows that the British motor industry was the only major one in the world to produce fewer commercial vehicles last year than in 1973.