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Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 08:06 GMT 09:06 UK


Business: The Company File

Rover jobs under threat

Rover workers are bracing themselves for further job losses

Rover bosses have warned that the strength of sterling could mean further job losses at the firm's largest car plant.


Rory Cellan Jones: "The company has already shed 1,500 posts"
Redundancies or a month-long shutdown at the Longbridge works, in Birmingham, are among options being considered by the company, a spokesman said.

Rover - owned by the German giant BMW - has already announced 1,500 job cuts at Longbridge, which makes the 200 and 400 and the MGF sports car.


[ image: Rover has already announced 1,500 job cuts at Longbridge]
Rover has already announced 1,500 job cuts at Longbridge
The spectre of further redundancies was raised after a warning from BMW chief Bernd Pischetsrieder.

Speaking at the Paris Motor Show Mr Pischetsrieder said: "We must differentiate between what's necessary in the short term and right in the long run.

"But it is clear that short-term measures are required in England."

'Longer holidays'


[ image: Union leaders have called for an immediate cut in interest rates]
Union leaders have called for an immediate cut in interest rates
A Rover spokesman confirmed more job losses or the closing of Longbridge throughout December to slow down production of excess models were among the options being considered.

He said: "Nothing has been decided yet, but the pound is hurting us, and there are lots of options we are looking at.

"It could mean further cuts, it could mean longer holidays."

The spokesman said the strong pound was damaging Rover in both the domestic and export markets.

Unions call for cut in interest rates

Following Rover's announcement a senior union leader called on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to cut interest rates.

Roger Lyons, general secretary of the Manufacturing Science & Finance Union, warned that more British jobs will be lost and more factories will close if no cut is made.

He said: "Common sense dictates urgent action."

Rover is not the only car manufacturer that is suffering.

Car giant Ford recently announced is putting its biggest UK factory on a four-day week because of a fall in exports.

Two shifts at the Dagenham plant in Essex will not produce cars for seven weeks from tomorrow.

Tories attack tide of job losses

Shadow trade and industry secretary John Redwood meanwhile condemned the Government's handling of the economic situation.

"Another day, another manufacturing disaster. Rover's decision to make more people redundant and to move to short-time working shows how serious the problem is," he said.

"Meanwhile, Mr Blair does nothing. He tells us that Europe is coming our way. All we can see is our jobs going Europe's way."





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The Company File Contents


Relevant Stories

21 Sep 98 | The Economy
Job losses nationwide

21 Sep 98 | The Company File
Ford introduces four-day week

22 Jul 98 | UK
Rover to axe 1,500 jobs

07 Jul 98 | The Company File
Strong pound may drive Rover abroad





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