Unions back Tata bid for Rover, Jaguar
The Tatas, in the race to buy Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford, have taken a major leap forward with trade unions throwing their weight behind it, reports Vijay Dutt.business Updated: Nov 22, 2007 22:51 IST
The Tatas, in the race to buy Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford, have taken a major leap forward with trade unions throwing their weight behind the Indian conglomerate. A source told
that union support "will give Tata an important boost as Ford attempts to appease the (British) government and unions over how it handles the sale of the two iconic brands."
The official Tata Motors spokesperson in London refused to say anything as the process was ongoing, but the Tatas have a major supporter in Welsh First Minister Rhodri Moragn who told
that he was extremely happy with the Tata management of Corus and added that once they acquire Land Rover and Jaguar, "we expect the engineering side will be set up in Wales. The Tatas have a very good reputation as employers".
Employees in the factories serving the two luxury brands have opted to back Tata because they feel a manufacturer will offer more long-term security than OneEquity, the other leading bidder. Privately, union leaders had voiced concerns about the Tatas because of market positioning and their ability to source components or manufacturing from overseas.
The news that Tata Motors is about to launch a car costing just over £1,000 in India had initially made union leaders fear that this would not sit well with ownership of luxury brands.
Sources conceded that union backing for Tata was a blow to the hopes of OneEquity, which is being fronted for this bid by Jacques Nasser, the former Ford chief executive. Nasser had bought Land Rover for Ford seven years ago and had put together the Premier Automotive Group of European luxury brands for the carmaker.
The decision by Ford on a preferred bidder for Land Rover and Jaguar, which will be sold together, is expected early next month. It has involved the British government and unions in discussions on the sale because of the large amount of jobs the two brands support. Directly, they employ 16,000 but that number expands to 40,000 if employment throughout the supply and support chains are taken into account.
Insiders said Ford could get up to £1 billion from the sale, "although it is expected to keep some form of equity interest in the devolved business".