HARD-UP British Leyland is facing an all-out strike by its 100,000 manual workers. Union leaders called the walk-out last night after being told that the company could not afford to implement a new productivity pay deal because of poor performance. And one union leader warned: “It could be a death blow for Leyland.”
The strike call will go before a mass meeting of shop stewards at Coventry on Monday when Leyland boss Mr Michael Edwardes will be given five days notice of the stoppage. The productivity scheme, designed to iron out pay differences between plants, would have given some workers as much as £10 a week back-dated to November. But Leyland called off the big share-out at the last moment, blaming low production and the lorry drivers’ strike. Union chiefs were told at a negotiating session in Coventry yesterday, and senior negotiator Mr Grenville Hawley immediately announced that he would personally be recommending a strike at all 32 plants.
Mr Bill McLean, Leyland’s director of employee relations, explained : “Because of the difficult time the company is experiencing we cannot make the parity payments as promised. We have repeatedly said that parity payments have got to be self-financing. We don’t want to renege on the agreement, but we have been unable to find the money to pay”.