November 1st 1984
The Jaguar pay strike begins today.
November 2nd 1984
Austin Rover pay dispute
At the Cowley assembly plant, missiles were thrown when Mr Douglas Dickson, the plant director, tried to address a meeting of workers.
Austin Rover plants halted by protests over strike votes
By Patrick Wintour,Labour Staff
Production at Austin Rovers assembly plants at Cowley and Longbridge, stopped for about two hours yesterday after some workers claimed that their shop stewards had rigged majorities in favour of a strike at morning mass meetings.
A strike over the company's 10 per cent , two-year offer now seems likely from Monday, despite the furore over the voting. At one point yesterday wood, stones , and concrete were thrown at Cowley's assembly plant director , Mr Doug Dixon, when he attempted to hold a mass meeting on the shop floor after a meeting of 5,000 workers conducted by the Transport and General Workers Union, had, shown a contested majority for a strike.
Mr David Buckle, the TGWU district secretary, accused the management of stirring up "a civil war as part of a political attempt to create distrust of the union movement and of mass meetings."
Shop stewards at Cowley said that the vote in favour of a strike had been 3 to 1, but about 100 protesters maintained that the vote was 60 to 40 against. Mr Buckle said the management at Cowley deliberately came on to the shop floor to stir up the small minority who were disputing the vote and refusing to work. Journalists were allowed into the plant to meet the protesters.
A management spokesman said that Mr Dixon only addressed the men to persuade them to return to work on the Montego and Maestro assembly lines. He added that the senior stewards had refused to come out of their office to talk to the protesters.
At Longbridge there were similar scenes after shop stewards ruled that the 11,000 strong workforce had voted 2 to 1 to strike. Management sources, who had offered to pay for a secret ballot , judged the vote was 50-50. Demands for a secret ballot and protests then came from track workers employed on the Metro , Mini, and Rover 200 lines. The company said there were also strikes among engine workers, and in two of the three paint shops. In a statement yesterday Austin Rover said that the clear disarray had
" totally discredited mass meetings as a means of accurately assessingthe feelings of the majority of our workforce. There is obviously a groundswell of opinion among our employees in favour of a secret ballot. They now have no faith in mass meetings as a means of making decisions affecting their livelihood. The whole future of mass meetings within British industry must now be called into question."
The company said that it is now considering more seriously seeking an injunction against the unions in an attempt to force a secret ballot under the Trade Union Act.
On a plant-by-plant basis those in favour of the company's offer were Swindon (2,700 workers), Dunstable (100), (100), Castle Bromwich (750), Drews Lane (1,500), Llanelli (1,100), West Yorkshire Foundry (180), Fuel Systems Erdington (350), Radford, Coventry (200), Canley engine plant (500).
Plants against the company's offer were Blans Foundry (500), Cowley body plant (4,000, although 600 engineers meeting separately voted against a strike ), Cowley assembly (5,000), and Longbridge (11,000).
The unions , which meet today to consider the votes, traditionally do not split plant votes, but count all the employees in the plant as either for or against the strike. The company's offer would raise basic rates from the current figure of Â£116.60 to Â£139.30 by November 1985.
All production at Jaguar's three plants stopped yesterday as the strike by the company's 7,500 workers began. Mass meetings on Wednesday voted to reject the company's marginally improved offer of 22 per cent over two years.
NEW YORK TIMES
Auto Strikes In Britain
Published: November 2, 1984
Thousands of automobile workers went on strike today, halting production of luxury Jaguar cars and Austin Rover models.
Workers at Austin Rover walked out ahead of schedule at two plants.
The strike, affecting 28,000 workers, was scheduled to start on Monday. The union has called for an immediate wage increase of 20 percent; the company has offered 10 percent over two years.
At Jaguar, which the Government sold to the private sector in August, all 7,400 workers at three plants walked out to press demands for a 20 percent pay increase this year. They rejected an offer of 22 percent over two years and the option of taking $500 worth of shares due them next spring.
The automobile stoppage came a day after efforts to settle the nation's eight-month coal strike collapsed following 10 hours of talks.
November 3rd 1984
Jaguar Cars was at a standstill yesterday for. the second day due to the pay strike by its 7,000 labour force (the Press Association reports). Production stopped on Wednesday after disagreement over voting procedures at mass meetings at the three plants, two in Coventry and the other at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.
The company said the procedures were unsatisfactory and would not rule out the possibility of conducting its own secret ballot.
November 5th 1984
Austin Rover boss Harold Musgrove made it clear that there will be no improvement on the company's two-year pay package.
" It is a stark, staring fact of life that there is no more money," he said.
November 6th 1984
Austin Rover Pay Strike begins
Austin shop stewards to defy strike ballot call
By Clifford Webb A delegate meeting of 120 Austin Rover shop stewards' voted yesterday to defy the company's intention to use new legislation to force secret balloting, and gave their backing to a strike which halted all the company's car production. They had been encouraged by the news that 25,000 of the 28,000 manual workers had obeyed the strike call issued by their leaders when pay talks broke down on Friday night.
Court Move To Halt Strike by car Workers
The strike by Austin Rover Car workers began yesterday as the company carried out its threat to go to the courts to stop it .
Austin Rover issued a High Court writ requiring the nine unions involved to withdraw their strike call until a ballot had been held .
Its application for a court order is expected to be heard today , and will be the first test of the governments 1984 Trade Union act which came into effect in September .
The stoppage was widespread on the first day of the strike . The two major plants – Cowley in Oxford and Longbridge in Birmingham – were at a standstill .
However , 3000 workers went to work at smaller plants .
Shop stewards from all 14 of the company’s car plants voted at a three hour meeting in Coventry to reject the company’s pay offer of 10% over two years and continue the strike .
Later Austin Rover said in a statement :
“This is an incredible decision . The company has made its final offer and there is no possibility that it will be improved further .”
“We believe that the responsible members of the joint negotiating committee recognise this , but they have been thwarted by the militants who have even gone so far as to distort voting figures at their disorderly mass meetings .”
The company statement added :
“They have no mandate from our employees to strike action . The only valid way to obtain the views of our employees is through a properly conducted secret ballot while normal working continues .”
“In the light of the disruptive and cynical tactics endorsed today by the delegates , who seem determined not to consult employees on whether there should be a strike , Austin Rover is convinced ever more firmly of the need to use the due process of the law to bring the strike to a speedy end .”
Under Section 11 of the 1984 Trade Union Act , the unions are liable to court action and damages up to £250000 if they do not hold a secret ballot before calling a strike .
The Austin Rover unions called the strike after a show of hands at mass meetings of the 28000 workers .
The company’s writ seeks to stop each of the nine unions “inducing , persuading , directing , instructing or in any other way encouraging “ the company’s employees to strike . The writ also suggests that damages might be sought .
Today’s hearing is expected to be heard in private , in the absence of the unions . Any injunction granted would be temporary , until the unions case was heard .
At the Longbridge plant yesterday about 30 workers were led past the pickets by a group of women amid pushing , shoving and some bitter arguments .
However , at both Longbridge and Cowley only a few workers crossed the picket lines and no cars were produced .
A mass meeting of about 1500 workers at the Drews Lane plant in Birmingham has been called today .
Mr John Allen , the engineering unions Birmingham East district secretary , said his members had a right to be consulted before a dispute .
“We are not going to have Scargillism at the factory gates in East Birmingham ,” he said .
However , the chief union negotiator , Mr Grenville Hawley , said after the shop stewards meeting that the unions would call no more mass meetings nationwide until the company puts forward an offer they could recommend . The offer of 5% each year was unacceptable .
He said the vote to continue the stoppage was overwhelming .
November 7th 1984
Austin Rover unions fail to meet judge's strike deadline
By Clifford Webb
The first controntation over the new secret ballot legislation loomed nearer last night as six unions at Austin Rover failed to meet a deadline imposed by the High Court.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith sitting in camera has ordered them to withdraw before 6 pm instructions directing their members to strike. But that deadline passed without news of any move by union leaders to comply. Austin Rover had issued writs against nine unions under Section II of the Trade Union Act. 1984. which became law on September 26. It requires unions to hold secret ballots before taking strike action. After a two-hour hearing Mr Justice Stuart-Smith granted temporary injunctions against six of the nine unions requiring them not to induce, persuade, direct, instruct or in any way encourage members to stay on strike. The injunctions will be in force until a secret ballot is held or the case is heard in full. Unions defying the court could face fines of up to £250,000. The hearing of writs against two unions who were represented in court, the Engineering and Foundry Sections of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers and the electricians' union were adjourned until Thursday. Individual union leaders could also face heavy fines if Austin Rover make a second approach to the High Court by issuing writs against named union officials.
In a statement last night Austin Rover said it now expected the trade unions to instruct their members to return to work immediately and to take no part in strike action which had not been approved in a secret ballot. It encouraged employees to cross picket lines because
"they are not official and should be ignored...........In accordance with the injunction granted by the High Court , we now expect the trade unions to instruct any of their members who are on strike to resume normal working and to take no part in any further action which has not at first been approved in a secret ballot .”
Mr Terry Duffy, president of the AUEW , said he feared the dispute would develop into another open clash with the Government because it was the paymaster. He said that he had instructed solicitors to oppose the writ and was keeping the TUC informed of developments. Last night there were signs that the strike is hardening. The numbers on strike increased during the day from 25,000 to 26,000 of the company's 28,000 employees. There was some dissent however. The 1000 workers at the Drews Lane components plant, Birmingham, defied the strike call and returned to work immediately.
Austin Rover said about 150 of the 3000 strong nightshift at its Longbridge , Birmingham , plant had reported for work .However there were not enough workers to begin production .
Pickets were at the factory gates attempting to persuade the men not to enter . Longbridge convener Mr Jack Adams said about 12 men decided not to cross the picket line .
“Judges don’t build motor cars . Our members build motor cars and they’ve decided they’re on strike ,” he said .]
Meanwhile , Austin Rover management received some comfort yesterday when figures of the number of new cars sold in Britain last month were released .
Although total sales were down 8% on October last year , Austin Rover won 23% of the market and led sales for the first time in 13 months .
Ford took 19% and General Motors 12% . The Metro was the top selling car with 9.2% of the market followed in order by the Ford Escort , Austin Maestro , Vauxhall Cavalier , Ford Sierra , Ford Fiesta , Austin Montego , Vauxhall Nova , Datsun Sunny and Datsun Micra .
November 8th 1984
Austin union chiefs pull back from showdown
By David Felton and Clifford Webb
Union leaders. last night appeared. to be pulling back from a legal confrontation over the pay strike by 25,000 Austin Rover workers after the second- largest union declared the dispute unofficial.
The decision by the executive of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, called into emergency session yesterday to disown the display of defiance by shop stewards and local officials earlier in the day seeking to continue the strike, caused problems for the more militant Transport and General Workers' Union, which is the largest at the company. It was not clear what attitude the union would adopt but it is unlikely to be represented at a High Court hearing today when Austin Rover will inform the court that six unions had refused to obey an order to call off the strikes by 6pm on Tuesday. The AUEW decision was taken after the electricians' union ordered its 800 members back to work. It did so because its policy is not to oppose the 1984 Trades Union Act under which Austin Rover has brought the action. Mr Eric Hammond, general secretary of the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications' and Plumbing Union, will appear in the High Court today to emphasize the union's willingness to cooperate with the court. Affidavits sworn by Mr Terry Duffy, president of the AUEW and Mr Ken Cure, the executive member responsible for the motor industry, will be read to the court. Austin Rover won an order in the High Court on Monday that the strike which started on Monday, should be. called off until a ballot of the 28,000 members had been held.
When news of the union split reached pickets at Longbridge, the biggest plant in the group, there were angry shouts of
"let them try. Nobody goes in until we get more money".
Earlier in the day Mr Cure had been chased through the streets of Coventry by strikers who had travelled from Cowley to picket the meeting.
November 9th 1984
11 go in Dunlop board shake-up
By Ian Griffiths
Sir Michael Edwardes, the former BL chairman, yesterday won his battle to take over as chairman and chief executive of Dunlop Holdings, the ailing tyre group, and immediately started one of the biggest boardroom shake-ups in corporate history with 11 of the 13 directors leaving. Four executive directors were dismissed at Sir Michael's request.
Austin Rover fails in court to make union end strike
By David Felton and Clifford Webb
Austin Rover yesterday lost its High Court action to order Britain's second largest union to lift a strike at the company's car plants to allow a ballot of the workers to be held.
In a decision, which apparently granted legitimacy to a union tactic of disowning the strike in order to comply with the provisions of the Trade Union Act 1984. Mr Justice Stuart-Smith refused to grant the company an injunction against the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers. Earlier during the hearing in chambers the company decided not to pursue a similar action against the Electrical, Electronic Telecommunication and Plumbing Union which had ordered its 800 members at Austin Rover back to work. In spite of that instruction a mass meeting of about 250 electricians at the Longbridge plant near Birmingham yesterday voted to continue the strike. The court decision could have a significant impact on union policies towards the Act which became law in September. Some observers were last night predicting that it may be sufficient for unions to disown a strike in order not to fall foul of the law. Six other unions at Austin Rover led by the Transport and General Workers' Union, which is the largest at the company have refused to comply with an injunction ordering them to call off their action by last Tuesday and hold a ballot.
The company was last night reticent on what action it planned although it is unlikely to seek contempt of court proceedings before Monday.
Mr Eric Hammond, general secretary of the EETPU, said after the company decided not to proceed with its action against the union:
"We feel very sore about, this because we have always made clear that we are prepared to obey the law. "
In affidavits laid before the court Mr Terry Duffy, AUEW president, said the Austin Rover joint national council, on which eight unions are represented, did not have authority to call a strike without reference first to his union's executive. Since the strike started on Monday, only 3,000 of the company's 28,000 employees have gone to work. If Austin Rover had been successful in its action against the two unions yesterday they would have been forced to hold a ballot or risk fines of up to Â£250,000.
The eight-day strike which has stopped all car production at Jaguar could end today (our Motoring Correspondent writes). Shop stewards will recommend mass meetings at the three Coventry plants to accept an improved offer.
Last edited by nicholls1966uk
on Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:35 pm, edited 16 times in total.
Whatever shit happens in this world you can be sure of one thing.
BMW, Tesco and Manchester United will always emerge smelling of roses.