Coventry council leaders in key talks over job fears at automotive firms
Coventry council leaders have held meetings with black cab maker Manganese Bronze as fears grow over potential job losses.
They have also called for talks with Jaguar Land Rover aimed at averting job losses at the Browns Lane plant in the city.
In the event of job losses, Conservative council leaders hope the city will have a retraining taskforce in place to help workers find alternative employment.
Conservative councillor Gary Ridley, cabinet member for city development, told a full council meeting the taskforce would be similar to the one set up after the closure of Coventry’s Peugeot factory. The council would link up with employers represented by the Chamber of Commerce, job centres, training agencies and others to offer re-skilling and other practical support to any redundant workers.
Manganese Bronze’s LTI (London Taxis International) business has suffered an alarming slump in sales in the recession, and can’t rule out redundancies as part of a savings programme to balance the books. It does not expect an upturn in the market for the foreseeable future, but has said it hopes to avoid closing the plant in Holyhead Road, Coundon.
A 90-day consultation process is underway with more than 400 workers.
Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover wants to sell its Browns Lane site.
A buyer is being sought within two years to save its veneer manufacturing centre and 500 jobs, while the research centre also faces an uncertain future. Coun Ridley sought the support of all parties at the council for leaders to hold talks with the two companies with a single voice.
A Tory motion noted “both companies have a shared heritage with Coventry and are an important party of our economy” and leaders had “demanded talks” in a resolve to “keep jobs in Coventry”.
Labour councillors backed those sentiments, but said leaders were in no position to “demand” talks, and accused them of hypocrisy over job cutting proposals for council workers.