chapter  Five
The Politics of Technological Change at British Leyland
WithScarbrough Harry
Pages 21

This chapter focuses on the introduction of new process technologies at British Leyland (BL)'s Longbridge plant before the launch of the Mini Metro model in October 1980. The Ryder report published in April 1975 outlined a ten year strategy for BL. Management's first such attempt came in the post-Ryder period when, nourished by the relative openness of participation, a consensus had developed at Longbridge on the need for major changes in work rules and practices. That the introduction of advance technologies at Longbridge should have aided the extension and intensification of management's shop-floor control of the labour-force should not in itself be surprising. In the perspective, the manner of the new technologies' introduction at Longbridge and the autocratic imposition of new work practices seem to have reflected what were essentially short and medium-term managerial imperatives to stabilise the company's finances and enhance the government's perception of its future viability.