UK: Former MG Rover workers may stop Longbridge factory equipment leaving - paper
Former MG Rover workers could take direct action to prevent the company's new Chinese owner shipping out equipment from the shuttered Longbridge factory, according to the Birmingham Post.
A union source reportedly issued the warning as Nanjing Automotive met officials from the Transport and General Workers' Union, who again raised concerns about its long term plans.
The paper said that T&G suggested Nanjing should join forces with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, which it beat in the bidding for the Birmingham car maker.
A Nanjing spokesman reportedly described the talks as "constructive" and said they focused mainly on the company's new strategic partnership with Fraser Welford-Winton, former head of the Powertrain engine making division.
However, there was continuing concern that the company is aiming to carry out a "lift and shift" exercise at the plant and a union source said such a move would be resisted, the Birmingham Post said.
"The meeting was positive and Nanjing did listen to our concerns, but we have made it very clear to them that we are not going to sit back and cooperate with a lift and shift," the source told the paper, adding: "A lot of people have not secured jobs since Rover collapsed and if there is nothing left at Longbridge then the future for many people is bleak."
A business source close to the bidding process also claimed that Nanjing did not have the financial muscle to ensure car making remained at Longbridge, the Birmingham Post said.
The source reportedly expressed concerns that Nanjing would need a partner with a larger global presence if it was to successfully produce cars in Birmingham with Welford-Winton's firm, the GB Sports Car Company.
The paper noted that Nanjing stated its intentions to create up to 2,000 jobs in the UK after it bought MG Rover from administrators.
However, the business source told the Birmingham Post: "A lot of people were very surprised when the administrators agreed to the deal with Nanjing. Nanjing have made a lot of losses recently so where is the money for the on-going business going to come from?"
Tony Woodley, general secretary of the TGWU union, reportedly said the talks on Tuesday were "positive". The Birmingham Post noted that unions have consistently backed the SAIC bid, claiming that it would lead to more jobs and a more stable future for the MG Rover workers.
The paper said the agreement made between Nanjing and Welford-Winton last week could see MGs rolling off the production line in the next 12 months and a new MG roadster, possibly a revival of the MG Midget, in the next two years.
It would also see between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs being created, the Birmingham Post added.