HOME NEWS By David Felton
Mass meetings of white-collar workers at several BL plants yesterday voted to support the national overtime ban which has been called by union leaders over the company’s plans to start making up to 3.300 workers compulsorily redundant. Such a ban and refusal by staff to cover vacant posts could soon affect production of the Mini Metro and the design and planning of other projects, including developments of Land-Rovers and Range Rovers at Solihull and the joint venture with Honda at Cowley. Oxfordshire.
BL yesterday wrote to its 22,500 white-collar staff giving warning of the danger of industrial action. It also made clear that without agreement on compulsory redundancies, it might be forced to pay only the statutory minimum redundancy pay. The white-collar sections of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, the Transport and General Workers’ Union and the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs have instituted an overtime ban.
Members of the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff. (Apex) voted ” overwhelmingly ” yesterday to take action, Mr Ray Grantham, the union’s general secretary said. The unions hope the action will become fully effective next week.
Staff involved include those in wages offices, design and computer centres, foremen. skilled engineers and general clerical workers. Effective action could quickly delay preparation of wages for BL’s 73,000 manual workers. The unions are due to meet Mr Raymond Horrocks, managing director of BL Cars, next week, but the company has stated that there could be no further negotiations on the redundancies and some leaders are sceptical about the value of such a meeting.
Privately BL executives are worried about the action slowing production of the Mini Metro. The unions hope that could persuade the management to drop its insistence on compulsory redundancies and extend the time scale for the job cuts to be, achieved by voluntary methods.