By R. W. Shakespeare Northern Industrial Correspondent
While the attention of Parliament and much of the nation was focused on the struggle for survival in Britain’s car industry, and the multi-million pound cost of trying to save the jobs of thousands of workers about six hundred men from the Leyland Triumph car plant at Speke, Liverpool, were idle yesterday because of an unofficial strike by 21 workers who complained of a smell caused by stray cats. The 21 men in the trim shop walked out on Monday, complaining about dirt and smell caused by the cats.
Work stopped while cleaners spent 45 minutes scrubbing the floor. Then the men protested that the floor was still wet and dangerous to work on. They decided to hold a meeting, having been warned by the management that if they did so they would not be paid for the time lost. Earlier the management had agreed with shop stewards that payment should be made for the time when the workshop was being cleaned. At the meeting the 21 workers decided to strike as a protest against the management’s refusal to pay them.
Yesterday they were still out and the 600 other workers were laid off. Production in the trim shop was stopped, although assembly of the TR7 sports car, one of the best-selling export models, was continuing, using trim components from stock. If stocks run out before the strike ends, car production may be halted.