Production of British Leyland’s mini-car range will return to normal today at the Longbridge plant, Birmingham, after a strike which made 1,100 workers idle. Labour troubles, however, continue to cripple output at BLMC’s Cowley plant , where a separate dispute has now put 6,000 out of work. The decision by 170 strikers at Longbridge to call off their stoppage was the sole consolation for BLMC yesterday. At a meeting the strikers accepted a formula for settling a piecework dispute which began last week. They agreed to return this morning.
At Cowley, however, 200 strikers , who have brought production to a standstill on the 1100, 1300, Austin three-litre, and Morris 1000 production lines, rejected a settlement formula put forward by their shop stewards. The stoppage began last Wednesday because of a management proposal to transfer a worker from one bodyshop to another.
Ironically, the series of disputes, which has troubled BLMC since the end of the company’s holiday period a fortnight ago, has helped to ease anxieties over steel supplies because of the Port Talbot strike. The company feared its stocks would run out before the steel dispute could be settled, but strikes in its own plants have caused output to sag so badly that layoffs due to a steel shortage are now thought unlikely. Stocks are sufficient for more than two weeks production at BLMC plants , and there are high hopes that the Port Talbot dispute will be settled before then.