Archive : BMC Warning On Threat To Car Production

From Our Correspondent

A complete stoppage of British Motor Corporation car production is threatened by an official strike of 55 maintenance electricians at the corporation’s tractor and transmissions branch at Washwood Heath, says a statement issued by the corporation here today.

The Electrical Trades Union have recognized the strike, which is over a pay claim first made 18 months ago. The Washwood Heath factory produces components for all B.M.C. cars as distinct from commercial vehicles. In their statement the corporation say that their factories at Birmingham and Oxford would soon be affected if the strike continued. An electrical interruption at Washwood Heath, they declare. could force the closure of the other factories within a few hours.

During today 100 workers have been laid off at the Washwood Heath branch. A notice put up at the factory by the management said that an offer had been made to all grades of electricians by which they would have received between 11s. 6d. and 25s. a week more. The management added that they had offered to regrade some electricians’ mates as semi-skilled electricians and give them an extra 8s. a week. Mr J. T. Bolas, E.T.U. area secretary, described the management’s figures as “completely misleading.”

Mr. Bolas went on: “The increases are worked out on a time workers’ bonus scheme based on the earnings of piece workers in the factory. The firm’s own figures of average earnings show that the electricians’ mates would have received 7s. 4d. a week and not 11s. 6d. Some weeks it would have dropped as low as 4s. 4d. a week. We have made every effort to settle this problem by negotiation.”

A strike over the closed-shop principle by about 100 assembly workers at the corporation’s factory here at Longbridge made 7,000 other workers idle today, but soon after these had been sent home the strike was called off and the night shift was working normally.

Keith Adams

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