Park Royal closure: Titan future assured
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BRITISH Leyland will find the capacity to continue building the West London Park Royal plant Titan despite the closure of the as part of the BL cutback.
Industry under secretary Michael Marshall told MPs during an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday night that the whole story of the Park Royal bus plant was one of "self destruction".
He added that the Park Royal factory had suffered for some time from a "substantial decline in productivity" and he• cited the plant as a clear illustration that the threat to jobs of Leyland workers came not from the Government but "from a failure to come to grips with common sense reality."
The question of the plant was raised by Brent South Labour MP Laurie Pavitt who said that the threat to the plant stemmed from the inefficiency of the Leyland management and he accused the company of using labour problems as a scapegoat for the closure. Mr Pavitt said that he wanted to see a feasibility study of the plant carried out.
Earlier in the day BL workers had been urged to vote "Yes" in the company ballot over the proposed cuts in the workforce and number of plants.
Trade Secretary John Nott told Bromsgrove and Redditch MP Hal Miller "I share your desire that the arrangements being suggested should be looked on favourably by the workforce."
And he told the House of Commons that Leyland had recorded a first half deficit of £461m on its vehicles and parts manufacturing operations.
As CM went to press voting was continuing in the BL workers ballot on the cuts and BL chief executive Sir Michael Edwardes has already made it plain that for the cuts to succeed he will need the acceptance of the majority of the workers — and it will have to be a big majority, he has said that he will not be satisfied with a 51 per cent majority in favour of the cuts.
Even if the cuts go through Leyland will be presented with a new problem for the Titan bus. As news of the proposed closure of• Park Royal came through with the news that production will be transferred orders and options for the bus have been cancelled and other operators have moved to buy alternative vehicles.