THOUSANDS MADE IDLE AS THE POWER CUTS BEGIN TO BITE
By Geoffrey Whiteley and Bernard Pratt
Thousands of workers in car, engineering and textile firms, mostly in the north and Midlands, were laid off yesterday as British industry felt the impact of the power crisis. And in the wake of the lay-offs, trailed a multitude of problems, including acompensatory payments to workers, unemployment benefits and the rearrangement of working hours.
Of the total of more than 40,000 idle yesterday in the car and components industries, more than 10,000 were in the 17 factories in the car division of the British Leyland Motor Corporation, mainly in Birmingham and Cowley.
The number of lay-offs might have been higher, but about 8,000 workers were already idle because of a pay strike involving assembly workers. The strikers called off their stoppage yesterday to allow talks to take place, but whether there will be work for all when they return tomorrow is doubtful. The huge Longbridge assembly plant at Birmingham produced no cars at all.
Other lay-offs among car manufacturers were at Jaguar, Coventry ( 3,500 ) , Triumph, Coventry ( 2,500 ), and Rover ( 2,000).