Rover pay freeze follows further round of job cuts

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The Independent Online
A FRESH round of job losses was disclosed yesterday while Rover insisted that its 34,000 workers would have to accept a six-month pay freeze.

IBM, the computer giant, called for 600 redundancies at its 26 British sites as part of its plan to shed 40,000 jobs worldwide. The company said earlier this year that it was to restructure the business in order to cut overheads.

The BBC said it was to axe 129 jobs - 99 programme makers at Pebble Mill in Birmingham and 30 outside broadcast staff in London.

Yardley Lentheric, the perfume and soap company, revealed it was to shed 50 jobs from its 1,200-strong workforce at Basildon, Essex.

More than 440 cleaners employed by Essex County Council were also under threat of redundancy as a result of compulsive competitive tendering.

PowerGen, the smaller of the two electricity generators, disclosed the loss of 120 jobs. National Power and PowerGen are to close electricity generating plants at 10 UK sites with the loss of another 220 jobs.

All the plants affected by National Power's decision are coal- fired. It is widely expected that many more coal-fired stations will be forced to close as the generators intend to cut their purchases from British Coal and to switch to natural gas.

The main casualty in National Power's portfolio is Agecroft in Manchester, which will be completely closed with the loss of 100 jobs.

Other sites involved with partial shutdown include Aberthaw in South Glamorgan, Uskmouth in Gwent, Rugeley in Staffordshire, Skelton Grange in Yorkshire and Willington in Derbyshire.

PowerGen's workforce has shrunk to less than 6,000 from 8,300 in March 1991 and 9,125 when the company was privatised.

One of Britain's largest joinery firms, Boulton and Paul, is to axe 387 jobs with the closure of 18 of its sales centres. The cuts will affect the company's headquarters in Norwich, its manufacturing plant in Maldon, Essex, Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

Nearly 90 jobs are to go with the closure of Trainload Freight's locomotive and train crew depots at Grangemouth in Scotland next April.

At Rover, union leaders expressed sympathy with the difficulties encountered by the company, but warned that a standstill on wages was unacceptable. Workers were due for an increase in November.

Rover recently reported a half-year loss of pounds 31m, a slight improvement on the pounds 43m deficit at the same time last year. The volume of sales, however, has dropped from 230,000 to 200,000 with no sign of an upturn in sight. Production of the Mini and Metro vehicles has been limited to three days a week and the Rover 200 model to four days a week.

The company pointed out that the pay freeze would affect all employees from the chairman down. Directors and senior executives had not received a pay rise since January 1991. Their January 1993 pay review date would also be postponed until May.