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[10 APR 00] BMW GROUP / ROVER NEWS
'Nationalise Rover' Call By Socialists
BY ANTONY HOPKER

Hundreds of millions of pounds of government money should be used to make Rover a public company, according to a Socialist councillor.

Former Coventry MP Dave Nellist has called for the money being made available to tackle the fall-out from the Rover sale to be diverted.

He claims that it would be better used to take the beleaguered firm into public ownership, and thus save the thousands of jobs that are under threat.

And delegates from the West Midlands Regional Council of Manufacturing Science Finance (MSF) backed the calls at a special conference at the weekend.

Cllr Nellist, who is leader of the Socialist Group on Coventry City Council and national chair of the Socialist Alliance, won support for a motion calling for public ownership.

The delegates met at Aston University on Saturday at a special conference to discuss the crisis.

A motion brought by Cllr Nellist also demanded that trade unions be given access to the books so they can see the true situation at Rover.

"Tens of thousands of workers in our area face an uncertain future, as behind closed doors various asset strippers pick over the bones of the Midlands car industry.

No private sector solution guarantees the jobs of all Rover workers and those in component suppliers.

BMW's assets in Britain should be taken back into public ownership and a plan drawn up, in conjunction with Rover workers themselves, for public investment under public control to produce a new product range that will better address the real transport needs of the whole of society."

The text of the motion read:

"This Regional Council gives 100% support to Rover workers and those in the component industry, in the battle to save jobs; believes that trades unions should be given immediate access to the books of BMW to see how subsidies, profits and internal transfers have affected the financial health of the business, and that with tens of thousands of jobs affected there should be no excuse of 'business secrecy' hiding the facts from those most closely involved; demands an end to asset stripping and no movement of production facilities without the agreement of all plants concerned; and believes that, with hundreds of millions of pounds of public money coming into this region to deal with the consequences of the break-up of Rover, that such public money should come now to retain Rover jobs, but that ownership of Rover, which BMW has given away, should now be transferred to the public sector."
    

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CWN / Motoring / BMW /10 Apr 00

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