BL is taking tough action to curb the activities of the unofficial combined shop stewards committee which last week demanded a 20 per cent wage increase despite the deepening recession in motor sales at a crucial stage in the group’s fight for survival. The company is seeking 4,000 White-collar redundancies to add to the reduction of 25,000 manual workers.
More than 13,000 of those have gone since September. Shop stewards who attended the committee’s meeting at Transport House, Birmingham, last Wednesday were called before the management at several plants on Monday and warned that further absence from work for “unaccredited” union meetings would lead to disciplinary action.
Mr Geoffrey Armstrong, BL’s director of employee relations. has written to the leaders of 11 manual unions protesting that the action of their shop stewards is clearly a breach of agreed procedure. He urged them to prevent a recurrence. Members of the committee see that as a threat to “do a Robinson on us if we don’t keep quiet”.
Mr Derek Robinson, the convener at Longbridge and chairman of the committee, was dismissed last November for urging a campaign to disrupt BL’s recovery plans. Among those warned was Mr Jack, Adams, who has succeeded Mr Robinson as convener and chairman.
Mr Grenville Hawley, national automotive group secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, said: “Some years ago the combine used to meet outside working hours on Saturday mornings, I think. They could do the same again so in that respect the present action will not stop them. I am. asking our district committees to consider the matter and report back.”