British Leyland Motor Corporation is heading for a confrontation with a group of the country’s most powerful engineering unions over its plan to ” hive off” one of its important component producing operations by selling to an American-owned corporation. The trouble involves the Thorneycroft heavy transmissions plant at Basingstoke, in Harnpshire, which is at present wholly-owned by BLMC.
It makes gearboxes and transmission units for heavy trucks and buses produced in other British Leyland plants. BLMC intends to dispose of the Basingstoke plant in a £5m deal with the Eaton Corporation of America, which has large United Kingdom interests in vehicle transmission manufacturing.
The unions have been told that rationalization of production facilities by Eatons ,would mean about 350 redundancies among the 1040-strong labour force at Basingstoke, but they fear complete closure of the plant could follow.
Jaguar workers cancel holidays to picket Plant
From Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
Several hundred Jaguar car workers have cancelled summer holidays due to start tonight to maintain their round-the-clock picketing of the company’s works. Thev fear atternpts may be made to deliver 500 new XJ12s stranded inside the Coventry factory by a three-week strike.
Dealers have been flooded with orders for the 12-cylinder, 140 mph car since it was announced two days ago. Demand is so intense that dealers forecast the establishment of a more rampant black market than the one which followed the XJ6 launch, when new models were changing hands for up to £800 more than list price. A Jaguar spokesman said:
“It is all very sad. We have sufficient 12s ready for delivery to give every Jaguar dealer in the country at least one. But we just cannot move them.”
But the pickets have agreed to one request by management, to allow engineers to pass through their lines to carry out essential maintenance work. The strike for higher piecework rates by 2000 assembly and trim track workers, has now cost the company retail sales worth £6.75m. A further 3000 workers are laid off. Peace talks broke down on Tuesday when management refused to make a cash offer.