BMW warns on Rover jobs

BMW WARNED yesterday of further cutbacks at its Rover car plants as the manufacturing industry was hit by a fresh wave of job losses.

Speaking on the opening day of the Paris Motor Show, BMW's chairman, Bernd Pischetsrieder, said further action would have to be taken if the current downturn continued and the pound remained strong.

BMW has already cut 1,500 jobs at Rover, put the Longbridge plant on a four-day week, and announced plans to switch pounds 1bn worth of component purchasing abroad.

The US electronics company, Viasystems, meanwhile, blamed the global downturn for the closure of two factories in the Scottish borders with 950 job losses.

Hepworth, the maker of Glo-Worm boilers, added to the gloom by warning of a further 200 redundancies on top of the 500 jobs it has shed in the UK and continental Europe in the past year.

Rover is in talks with its unions about the additional cutbacks amid fears that it may suffer losses of up to pounds 500m this year. "What they will be is being discussed with workers and unions, but I expect it will go beyond what we already announced," said Mr Pischetsrieder.

The company indicated that it would rein back production further to try to limit job losses. A spokesman also rebuffed suggestions that BMW's investment programme, currently running at pounds 600m a year, was under threat because of increasing losses.

Rover managed to cut its losses to pounds 92m last year from pounds 119m in 1996. But this year the strong pound has inflicted a double blow, making Rover's exports more unprofitable and exposing it to increased competition from cheap imports.

The Viasystems closures were condemned as a betrayal of the workforce by two Liberal Democrat MPs for the Borders region, Archy Kirkwood and Michael Moore. The MPs also called for a public inquiry into the public funding which the US company had received.

The Hepworth job losses will reduce the workforce by up to 10 per cent to around 6,300 people. More than 60 per cent of Hepworth's staff work in the UK, with the rest in continental Europe.

The redundancies are part of the group's efforts to buck tough market conditions in its core business by cutting costs and improving efficiencies.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent