Archive : Land Rover sell-off causing rumbles


Leyland union chiefs threatened strike action yesterday. In the growing battle over the Land- Rover ” sell-off.”  The unions want top-level talks about the sale before March 4. The strike ultimatum matches the Government’s deadline for bids for the BL truck, bus, and Land- Rover operations.

The giant transport union, represents 18,500 of the vehicle builders in the BL divisions, wants urgent talks on the sales.’
Transport union official Mr Mick Murphy said yesterday ; “We want a clear undertaking that there should be
proper consultation with the labour force before the deadline.”

Labour leader Mr Nell Kinnock yesterday accused Mrs Thatcher of ” trickery ” in the BL sell-on controversy. He said the Prime Minister’s decision to set up a special Cabinet committee to look at all the bids and not just deal with General Motors could be a trick to placate her own MPs.

Speaking during a visit to the Austin Rover plant at Longbridge, West Midlands, he said : ” I’m against any sell-off.”  Last night Industry Minister Mr Peter Morrison slammed the anti-American attitude. Instead of considering the long-term future of Leyland trucks and Land-Rover, some people had adopted the attitude that ” anything American has to be bad,” he said.

Published: February 22, 1986

The British Government set up a special committee to review bids for the state-owned BL vehicle company, parts of which are planned to be sold to the General Motors Corporation, officials said. The committee, to be headed by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was formed after Members of Parliament attacked Government plans to sell BL’s truck and Land-Rover divisions to G.M.

Several groups, including senior BL executives seeking a buyout of Land-Rover, are bidding to take over different parts of the loss-making state-owned company, formerly known as British Leyland. Political sources interpreted the formation of the committee as a sign Mrs. Thatcher wanted to avoid a repetition of the crisis surrounding rival American and European bids for the Westland P.L.C. helicopter company, which led to the resignation of two senior ministers.

Keith Adams

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