From John Earle
British Leyland has backed down from its ultimatum to close its Innocenti subsidiary, assembling Minis in Milan, unless it received a firm reply from the Italian government tonight on its plan to cut the labour force to 1,500. Mr David Andrews, managing director of Leyland International, said today that at a meeting with Italian ministers last night he and Mr Percy Plant, the Leyland Innocenti chairman, were asked not to take any unilateral action while the government negotiated on a possible alternative solution.
Accordingly he and Mr Plant had agreed not to take such action pending a meeting of economic ministers on November 22, when the government had undertaken to make known its final position. Mr Andrews said they had found that a cut in the workforce from 4,500 to 3,000, which British Leyland had considered necessary for Innocenti’s survival, would not be acceptable to the Italians. Signor Carlo Donat Cattin, Minister of Industry and Signor Mario Toros, Minister of Labour, had said they were negotiating with third parties on an alternative solution, but Mr Andrews declined to disclose what this might be.
Innocenti’s losses are estimated at 14,000m to 17,000m lire (£10m-£12m) for the financial year ending last September.