At Cowley, British Leyland’s troubles are centred on a claim by 3,000 “indirect” workers, the men who provide essential back-up services for the assembly lines, that an agreement guaranteeing them four days full pay in each week should be honoured and retained throughout the power crisis.
The Cowley plant has been allocated production on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays of each week and so far has arrangements to work 10 hour shifts on each of these days. After failure to agree on the four-day guarantee at a union/management meeting, the indirect workers yesterday voted to ban all overtime. In practice this would mean that Thursday and Friday shifts would be cut to eight hours and there could be no Saturday working.
Because these workers do key jobs, including electrical work and supplying the assembly areas with components, all other production workers would have to be laid off.