Archive : 12,000 Midland Car Workers Made Idle By Disputes

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More than 12,000 workers in the Midland car industry were idle today because of five industrial disputes, and more than 2,000 day workers at the Austin Motor Company decided to call for an official strike because of the rejection of a pay claim.

Because of shortage of supplies caused by the strike of 21 toolsetters which ended yesterday at S.U. Carburettors, Erdington, the British Motor Corporation sent home 2,600 men from the Austin Motor Company at Longbridge, 2,600 men from Morris Motors, Cowley, and 1,000 men from Nuffield Metal Products, Washwood Heath.

The Rover Company sent home between 700 and 800 men in Birmingham. Both firms hope that supplies of carburettors will ,be sufficient for production to be resumed on Tuesday.

At the B.M.C. body building factory of Fisher and Ludlow, 210 members of the Electrical Trades Union are still on strike over a pay claim, but this has not yet interfered with production in the group.

About 1,500 Rootes Group employees at Coventry were idle today because of the strike at British Light Steel Pressings, Acton.
The Pressed Steel Company Ltd. at Cowley sent 1,580 men home today because of the Acton strike and another 524 as a result of the dispute at S.U. Carburettors.

Eight hundred foundry workers on strike at the Midland Motor Cylinder Company, Ltd., Smethwick, decided to return to work on Monday after the management had given assurances about the operation of time and motion study in the works. Today’s new unofficial dispute was at the works of Glancey, Ltd., a Halesowen car components firm, where 500 People have been affected by a strike in support of a pay claim by 20 women workers.

The meeting of more than 2,000 day workers at Longbridge rejected a call for an immediate strike, but this may be small comfort to the B.M.C. management. It was not sensible to strike when the motor industry faced one of the grimmest winters in its history, speakers pointed out. There seemed to be a good deal of popular support for those who suggested that the time to strike was when production was rising and men were needed by the company. The meeting decided to advise the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions that strike action should be taken , “at an appropriate time ” to be agreed with trade union officials.

Mr R. A. Etheridge, the convener of shop stewards, said that a claim for an increase of between 30s. and £2 a week for those on day rate had gone through the complete negotiating procedure but the management had declined to make any offer. He considered that the men had a good case as the margin between their earnings and those of the 16,000 piece workers in the factory was too great. While day workers’ pay ranged from £11 to £17 a week, piece work earnings were between £15 and £28.

The 950 workers who were idle at the Jaguar works in Coventry yesterday because of the S.U. dispute returned to work today, but the firm announced tonight that they will be laid off again on Monday night, but would return on Wednesday. when the supply position would be reviewed.

Keith Adams

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