Archive : Cowley men warned plant may be shut down

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent

British Leyland last night warned several thousand workers at its Cowley, Oxford car body plant that it was not possible to continue operations. The company says that restricted working in support of a pay claim was “causing complete dislocation of production”.

Unless there was an immediate resumption of normal working. it said, it would have no alternative but to take action. The company refused to say what action was being contemplated but it was widely interpreted as a threatened lockout. The warning was contained in a personal letter from Mr D. J. Simpson. the plant director. to.each of the production workers on the Marina and Maxi body lines.

Mr Simpson said he was gravely concerned about the effect of the restricted working on the company’s trading prospects. The competitive situation was such that failure to deliver cars on time and in the right quantity could have most damaging results. After setting out management efforts to obtain a fair settlement of the men’s pay claim, he said their present industrial action was in breach of agreement and had nullified any understanding that the pay award would be made retrospective.

British Leyland’s efforts to increase production of the Morris Marina to meet record demand from home and overseas markets have been frustrated by the month old ban on overtime and other restrictions. The restrictions are particularly damaging at present because 4,000 men in the adjoining assembly plant recently withdrew similar action following acceptance of a new £40.20 a week pay deal. The traditionally more militant body plant is holding out for more money still.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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