About 12,000 Austin Morris workers at British Leyland’s Cowley plant are expected to be laid off again today because of a breakdown in talks on the engine tuners status dispute.
Mr Pat Lowry, the company’s industrial relations director, said last night the situation did not look hopeful.
During talks lasting six hours at Cowley, the management had refused to concede a claim by the 250 men for classification as skilled workers.
The plant was forced to close on Monday when the tuners went on strike. They returned to work on Tuesday pending the outcome of yesterdays discussions and the plant reopened.
The tuners are to meet this morning to decide on what action to take. Mr John Symonds, the plant director, will then decide on whether to begin the lay-offs once more.
Cars can be built without the tuners, but there is a limit to the number that can be produced and stockpiled. Instead of re-classification the company offered the men speedy completion of the plants annual wage review, followed by a wage structure examination.
The 250 tuners are paid £51.20 as standard production workers.