Archive : Car Workers See City Council


Trade unions represented in Oxford car factories sent a deputation to the City Council today to put before it the facts about unemployment and short time.

Mr Jack Thomas, Oxford district secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, leading the deputation, said that since September about 2,000 people had left the industry locally, though this was not reflected in the city’s unemployment figures because many people were recruited from elsewhere, particularly from the south coast. Fifteen thousand people in the city, mainly semi-skilled, were on short time, working from two and a half to four days a week. This under-employment position seemed to be deteriorating badly, Mr Thomas said.

The deputation asked the council to make representations to the Government departments concerned, telling them of the serious situation likely to develop in Oxford: to consult the British Motor Corporation and the Pressed Steel Company about their programmes; and, in the event of serious unemployment, to examine the possibility of jobs for redundant car workers on council development projects. The council decided that the appropriate Committee should give immediate consideration to these suggestions.

Meanwhile shop stewards representing 1,000 men at the radiators branch of Morris Motors, Ltd., Oxford, are urging that for workers on short time wages should not fall below £10 16s. a week. Some men are working two and a half days. Production workers have dropped from £21 a week to just over £10, press shop workers have had their wages halved to £9, and some unskilled hourly paid workers are down to £8.

For the B.M.C. a spokesman said that the demand would obviously mean altering the terms of the guaranteed week. “This was approved on a national basis. We have nothing to say.”

Referring to production of Mini-Minors at Morris Motors, Cowley, reported as being cut to 183 a week-a B.M.C. statement from Longbridge, Birmingham. said today:

“The production programme for the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini- Minor and their derivatives at Longbridge and Cowley is running at more than 2,000 a week-one of the highest output figures for any British vehicle at present. Figures published in the press about production at Cowley are misleading because they do not include the entire range of vehicles of this type.”

It would appear from this statement that the vast majority of Austin Sevens and Mini-Minors are at present being made at Longbridge.

Keith Adams

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