Archive : BL sticks to hard line despite strike loss of £13m

From Clifford Webb Midlands Industrial Correspondent

Birmingham BL management was sticking last night to the strong line it has ten with strikers at its Longbridge plant despite the threat of official intervention by the Transport and General Workers’ Union. The four-day . stoppage has cost the company nearly 4,000 Metros and Minis worth more than £13m at showroom prices.

Three thousand of the 15,000 member workforce. were laid off on Thursday. The 1,300 strikers, who are demanding the reinstatement Of eight colleagues dismissed for gross misconduct, have themselves been warned that they face dismissal if they do not return. The TGWU’s regional finance and general purposes committee meets on Monday to consider a recommendation that the strike be made official. The plant closes on Tuesday for an extended holiday and is not due to resume until January 5.

There is pressure within the union for postponement of a decision on Monday so that the two sides can use the breathing space afforded by the holiday shutdown to hold further talks. But Mr Brian Mathers, the regional secretary, is himself under pressure from the Longbridge works committee and most of the 250 shop stewards at the plant to protect shop stewards from what they claim is blatant victimization. Four of those dismissed are shop stewards.

Bathgate protest: An overtime ban is to be imposed by more than 4,000 shopfloor workers at the BL factory in Bathgate, west Lothian, in protest against 925 redundancies which are to become effective by April.

Keith Adams

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