LEYLAND WAGE DEMAND
By Declan Cunningham
Leyland floor -sweepers want £94 for a 39-hour week. That is just one item in a staggering list of demands made by the unions yesterday. It came less than 24, hours after BL’s chairman, Sir Michael Edwardes branded protest marchers as King Canutes who refused to face facts about the company’s future. The overall claim is for a Â£24-a-week rise, shorter hours and better benefits a n d pensions for BL’s 100,000 workersâ€”putting top earners on ï¿¡113.
Because the unions want all wages to be index linked, it could lead to weekly rises to combat inflation; The managements response was predictable as stern-faced negotiators filed from a hotel near Coventry. A spokesman at BL headquarters in London, said: “This claim is utterly and totally unrealistic. Any pay claim will have to be self-financing.”
The top management man at the Coventry talks was Industrial Relations Manager Mr Geoff Armstrong. He said: “Quite obviously the company is in no position to pay massive increases without a significant increase in productivity. We don’t have unlimited kitties to draw from. We cannot conjure up money from thin air.”
The claim could not have come at a worse time for the company, which is already trying to persuade,the unions that 25,000 jobs and 13 plants must be axed if BL is to survive.