NEWS IN BRIEF

Plastics merger

Elf Atochem and BP Amoco are to merge their European polypropylene activities in a 50/50 joint venture to create Europe’s third biggest producer of plastic resin. It will have a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes. The two companies will also combine their polypropylene R&D efforts worldwide.

Design worries

The Engineering Council has attacked what it says is the Government’s failure to address `the significant shortfall in design and technology teacher applications’. It is concerned that a scheme to offer `golden hellos’ to maths and science graduates to lure them into teaching has not been extended to design and technology.

Northern orders fall

The recession is still hitting Sheffield engineering firms hard. According to the EEF’s Sheffield Association, 40% of 147 companies surveyed in the region saw orders fall in the past three months.

Process partners

CEL International, formerly Courtaulds Engineering, and Capita Property services have formed an agreement to provide the process industries with a one-stop-shop for design, engineering and delivery of process plant projects.

Low strike level

Industrial action and balloting is at an all-time low, according to a TUC survey. The UK lost only 10 working days to industrial action per 1,000 employees in 1997, the lowest figure for 10 years.