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[22 OCT 98] ROVER NEWS
Rover Talks With Government

Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Mandelson is having crisis talks with bosses of ailing car firm Rover to discuss the company’s future.

Union officials were told yesterday that 2,400 jobs must go at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham to reduce costs.

There are also fears that production of the new mini will be switched to Cowley, Oxford and that other models planned for Longbridge might be axed.

But Tony Woodley, chief negotiator of the TGWU, said today that he was confident that the Longbridge factory, which currently employs 14,000, would survive.

He said:

"I believe this is a short-term crisis resulting from the high value of the pound and from a general fall in sales.

"It is a very difficult time but no company could continue to sustain the losses Rover is experiencing and survive.

"Cutting jobs is a short term solution. Rover now needs to put together a long-term business solution so the workers have some guarantees about their future.

"I am pleased to see that Rover is now having talks with government ministers. Until now it has only been myself and my colleagues who have had discussions with the government."

Mr Woodley has also pledged his support to workers in the car components industry in Coventry and Warwickshire who could be affected by the change of fortunes at Rover.

Economic development experts at Coventry City Council have also vowed to do everything possible to protect the area's motor components suppliers.
    

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CWN / Business / Motoring / Rover / 22 Oct 98 / Rover Talks With Government

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