By Clifford Webb
British Leyland production losses reached £5m last night as Midland car plants remained starved of components because of the British Road Services’ drivers dispute. Workers have been laid off at two more plants. Nine factories are now seriously affected in Birmingham; Coventry, Oxford and Swindon. Production of Austin Morris minis, 1100/1300, 1800/2200, MG sports cars and Jaguar saloons has been at a standstill for two days.
Assembly of Triumph GT6 and Spitfire models has been reduced to a trickle. Four hundred workers were sent home yesterday at the latest plants to be hit-Triumph, Tile Hill, Coventry, and Austin Morris Cowley. Some of the men laid off earlier in the week have been recalled to carry out rectification and other work.
But throughout the group about 10,000 workers were idle last night and a company spokesman said that many thousands more would have to be sent home as stocks ran down. Hopes of an early settlement of the drivers’ dispute receded last night with both sides taking up entrenched positions. Mr Alan Law, the Transport and General Workers Union official representing the 1,300 drivers involved, said last night:
“We are waiting for the BRS to make an offer to this office. There will be no national discussions as they keep demanding. This is a regional claim and will be settled regionally. The next move is up to them.”