Archive : 13,000 car men idle as Lucas votes to stay out

Midland Industrial Correspondent

The 650 men striking at the Lucas die-casting and plastics factories in Birmingham voted yesterday to stay out. The three-week-old unofficial stoppage has left motor plants throughout Britain short of electrical components, and more than 13,000 workers in the industry were idle last night.

All car production at Jaguar and all light commercial vehicle output at Vauxhall was at a standstill. Thousands of partly completed cars were being stockpiled at Ford and British Leyland.The General and Municipal Workers Union alerted the Department of Employment and Productivity yesterday to the seriousness of the Lucas situation.

A union official said: “We have not asked for the department to intervene but we felt that they should be informed of the possibility of widespread layoffs.”

The move followed the men’s rejection of union advice to return to work to permit negotiations on their claim for an extra £9 a week.  Jaguar said last night that all car production would stop at its main assembly plant in Browns Lane, Coventry, at the end of the night shift. About 1,500 workers (half the labour force) would be laid off. Austin Morris is in trouble with rear light assemblies.

A spokesman said: ” For the time being we are putting incomplete cars into stock, but by the weekend we shall be in serious trouble right across the board.”

Keith Adams

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