NEW BLOW TO LEYLAND PLAN
By Peter Hitchens
British Leyland’s hopes of winning full support from its workforce for its major streamlining plan appeared to be back on the brink last night. After a massive day-long row, union leaders from the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions and the giant Transport and General Workers Union which represents about half the BL workforce were split on whether to recommend acceptance of the job and plant cuts.
In the forthcoming secret ballots-one by the Confederation and the other by Leyland itself , Mr Moss Evans and the TGWU leadership will advise their members of the “weakness ” of BL’s plan, but will not advise its members to vote against. The Confederation said it would recommend Leyland workers to vote YES in the ballot. Mr Todd Sullivan, TGWU national officer, said it will be up to members to decide how to vote when they know all the facts.
“We believe the plan will lead to the demise of British Leyland,” he said. Confederation spokesman Kenneth Baker said after the 12-hour meeting: “We have been to the precipice and we did not like what we saw.”
He was convinced a “YES” vote would give a future to BL and a “NO” vote would mean disaster. The BL board has already agreed that the cuts , 25,000 workers and 13 plants , must be accepted before the company goes ahead with its huge forward plan.