Archive : Car plant stopped by mystery smell


A dollar earning car plant was brought to a standstill yesterday. . . by a smell. Fifteen assembly workers downed tools and walked out because they couldn’t stand it. They claimed that it was so rotten it made them ill.

Five hundred other workers at the Rover plant in Solihull, Warwicks , had to be laid off. All production of the export winning Rover 2000 came to a halt. Last night the smell was still something of a mystery, although it had apparently wafted from a booth where cars are undersealed.

One of the strikers said: “The smell was terrible. The fumes hurt our throats and made our eyes smart . We have complained before, but nothing has been done.”

The men defied a management order to stay at their jobs.

A Rover spokesman said last night: “Their complaint is being investigated, and engineers are trying to sort it out. We agree there was a smell . But it wasn’t bad enough to prevent normal working.”

One theory is that a fault in the extractor fan system sent fumes from the undersealing booth wafting inside instead of outside the works.

Trouble spot No. 2…

1,150 men at British Leyjand’s Standard-Triumph plant at Speke , Liverpool, voted yesterday to continue a ten-week-old strike, despite a Government order for a court of inquiry into a pay dispute.

More than 9,000 other Standard-Triumph workers at Liverpool, Coventry and Birmingham have been laid off because of the unofficial walk-out. The strike has cast the company £8,000.000 so far—and in ten days British Leyland face another massive stoppage.

Shop stewards have called for a one-day sympathy walk-out in all British Leyland’s 88 factories unless the Speke dispute is settled.


Fifteen men on the Rover 2000 assembly line at Solihull, Warwickshire, walked out yesterday because, they said, extractor fans were not clearing fumes properly. Five hundred men were made idle. Production lost: £100, 000.

Keith Adams
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