By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
More strikes added to the already chaotic situation in Midland car plants yesterday. All output stopped at Triumph Coventry during the day. Nearly 13,000 workers are now idle at 10 British Leyland plants, with production losses approaching £8m. The most serious problem is the shortage of components caused by the four-day-old dispute involving 1,300 British Road Services drivers. This dispute now looks certain to continue until next Wednesday at the earliest.
Two hours of talks in Birmingham between union officials and BRS management failed to produce a peace formula. Mr Alan Law, of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, claimed to have won a concession from management that talks would continue at regional and not national level. He said the two sides had agreed to meet next Wednesday but otherwise there had been no progress. A BRS spokesman described the talks as ” encouraging “.
The drivers are claiming an extra £2.50 a week for special skills required as drivers of heavy trucks. They have surrendered their heavy goods vehicle licences to union offices for the duration of the dispute. Disputes at two Burman factories in the Birmingham area have also stopped supplies of steering components for several car producers. About 1,000 men are idle in the plants. It was the combined effects of the BRS and Burman shortages, together with an internal strike by 250 trim shop workers at Triumph which forced the company to lay off 2,000 men yesterday.
The situation at the plants was: Austin-Morris, Longbridge: assembly halted, 4,800 laid off. Castle Bromwich: Austin-Morris bodv production halted, 2,000 laid off. Bordesley Green: Triumph body production stopped, 380 laid off. Jaguar Coventry: No saloon production, 1,200 laid off. Triumph, Coventry: no production, 2,120 laid off. MG, Abingdon: no production, 650 laid off.
Austin-Morris Cowley: no 1300 GT production, 330 laid off. Adjoining body plant: 210 laid off. Swindon; No body production, 770 laid off.