By William Daniels
Thirty six car workers who walked out on strike last week have been sacked. The strike — over a manning dispute—brought the best-selling Rover 2000 car production line to a standstill.
The strikers worked in the paint shop at the Rover plant at Solihull, near Birmingham, where 1400 men had to be laid off last week because of the walk-out. They ignored a warning that ‘drastic action’ might be taken. Now they have been sent letters of dismissal.
The strikers were told they could apply to have their jobs back.
But a spokesman of the firm said: ‘This would be re-engagement, not reinstatement,’ New men have already been recruited to take the place of many of those sacked, and production at the factory was back to normal yesterday. No official of the men’s union, the Vehicle Builders was available for comment yesterday.
But a shop steward at the plant said: ‘This was a situation which could not go on. These unofficial strikes hit hundreds of men who have to be sent home because there is no work for them. A section of the workers were ignoring agreed procedure for dealing with disputes.’
At the main Solihull plant, workers appear to have accepted the management’s decision. But Rover bosses were wondering last night whether militants at the firm’s other factories will adopt the same attitude. In the last few months there have been a number of unofficial stoppages in the paint shop, where 200 men are employed.