Tata best for British workers, says Ford union

February 23rd, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 23 (IANS) The British workers’ union representing carmaker Ford has reiterated its support for the Tata offer to buy the Ford-owned Jaguar and Land Rover. “We are confident that our members’ long-term future is best served by Tata,” said Dave Osborne, national secretary for Unite union.

“They totally ruled out offloading Jaguar or building Land Rovers in India,” he added after the first detailed talks between Tata executives and Unite officials Friday.

“There are a couple of clarifications we still need from Ford, but I don’t see any issues arising from that,” Osborne said.

Describing the talks as constructive, he said Tata had assured union officials that engines would still be taken from Ford and that British manufacturing would be maintained.

Engines for Jaguar and Land Rovers are made in factories located in south Wales and Dagenham in London.

Unite represents about 12,000 workers at Land Rover and Jaguar factories.

Ford is currently in focussed talks with Tata Motors, but hasn’t officially ruled out the two other bidders, Mahindra & Mahindra of India and a private equity group, OneEquity, owned by former Ford Chief Executive Jacques Nasser.

Tata is said to have offered around $2 billion dollars for the two luxury brands.

Jaguar said last month that it is “entirely relaxed” about a Tata takeover.

“We have shown Tata our new model lines and the planned product cycle. The two national cultures appear to fit together very well and Tata is being very respectful about what we are doing,” said Ian Callum, the director of design who is responsible for the new XF and XK model ranges.

Ford acquired Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989 and Land Rover for $2.75 billion in 2000 but wants to sell them off as it wants to concentrate on its North American operations, which contributed heavily to record $12.6 billion losses in 2006.

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