"Rover is too small and underinvested in to be a
long-term volume car manufacturer, that's why our motion calls for a plan to be
drawn up, in conjunction with Rover workers themselves, for public investment
under democratic public control to produce a new product range that will better
address the real transport needs of the whole of society.
"Hundreds of millions of pounds of public money will
be spent picking up the pieces of this industrial vandalism if the closure of
Rover goes through.
"In 2000, £152 million was promised in regional aid, a
similar amount would likely be involved again. Add to that the loss of tax and
national insurance from perhaps 15-20,000 workers; the paying of benefits and
the unquantifiable social costs ranging from unnecessary repossessions and
evictions to the extra strain put on the health and welfare system.
"Rather than spend that money on the aftermath of
the collapse of Rover, it would be far better to invest it in keeping the
"But such huge public investment shouldn't be a
subsidy to another private company's profits. Government intervention and public
investment should be matched by public ownership and control. And by the
involvement of Rovers workers themselves in the drawing up of a new plan of
production to meet the transport needs of the whole of society.
"To those who say it can't be done, well I can
vividly remember as a young apprentice sitting in a lecture room at the Rolls
Royce Technical College in Bristol in 1971 hearing how the then Tory Prime
Minister, Edward Heath, had nationalised Rolls Royce to prevent the break up of
the aero engine industry, in only 24 hours of parliamentary time! If this New
Labour Government were serious about saving jobs, it could be done again."
Cllr Nellist wants trades unions and the public to
rise up in support of Longbridge.
"Five years ago, the threat of massive job cuts led
to a huge demonstration in Birmingham. We urgently need that same spirit of
trade union action and community support literally in the days ahead to stop the
vultures circling over Longbridge".
The text of the motion reads:
"This Council: notes with dismay the level of job losses in the region's car
industry in recent months including major redundancies or threatened
redundancies at Jaguar, Peugeot and Rover, together with a number of smaller
companies and those who are suppliers to those named; gives 100% support to
those workers wishing to oppose redundancies and calls for the trade unions to
develop an urgent regional and national campaign in support of manufacturing
jobs; believes that the trades unions should be given immediate access to the
books of Jaguar, Peugeot and Rover to see how subsidies, profits and internal
transfers have affected the financial health of those businesses, and that with
many thousands of jobs affected there should be no excuse of "business secrecy"
hiding the facts from those most closely involved; demands an urgent
investigation into the role of Rover's directors and their five-year control of
the company, and an end to asset stripping or movement of production facilities
without the agreement of all plants concerned; and resolves that since hundreds
of millions of pounds of public money would have to come into this region to
deal with the consequences of the collapse of Rover, that such public money
should be invested now to retain Rover jobs, on condition that the ownership of
Rover be now transferred back to the public sector and a plan drawn up, in
conjunction with Rover workers themselves, for that public investment, under
democratic public control, to produce a new product range that will better
address the real transport needs of the whole of society."