Concern over jobs cuts at MG Rover

There is continuing speculation that up to 2000 jobs may be under threat at UK car manufacturer MG Rover as the company seeks to clinch an investment deal with a Chinese automotive group.

The T&G union said today (Friday) that it had "no confirmation of press reports of major job losses at the MG Rover Longbridge plant" as MG Rover was seeking to clinch an investment deal to help develop new models.

T&G General Secretary Tony Woodley stressed that getting the deal with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) would help secure investment in new models which would ensure the future for the Birmingham plant and component suppliers in the West Midlands and across the UK.

He said: "What is important right now is to make sure we secure the much-needed investment for Longbridge to save and preserve jobs in MG Rover and in the component suppliers."

He said the T&G had no confirmation of job losses on the scale reported in the press on Friday morning but repeated his view that all mergers led to "some level of job losses".

He added: "The T&G is working very hard with the government and others to make sure that the MG Rover deal does indeed go ahead," he added. "This is a very crucial and delicate time and our efforts are targeted to securing new models for the company which will mean jobs for our people."

MG Rover recently pulled out of the Geneva Motor Show, which is Europe’s biggest car show, apparently in a bid to save cash and focus on talks with SAIC.

The show is viewed as a crucial event to boost European sales. At the 2002 show, the MG Rover TF won the accolade of ‘Carbrio of the Year’, but, while MG Rover will be absent, next week’s show will feature a small presence by the group's Swiss importer.

A spokesperson for MG Rover simply pointed out that large stands were expensive and that the manufacturer had no new models to put on show.

Provisional data from the ONS revealed that total car production in January 2005, dropped by 3.7% (around 5,290 units). Despite an increase in models for the domestic market, which was up 4.3%, export market production fell by 7.5%.

However, SMMT Chief Executive Christopher Macgowan said there was "positive news" for car production in the UK following recent major investment announcements by Nissan and MINI.


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