Yesterday all production at British Leyland’s car plant at Cowley, Oxford, stopped with 9,500 workers either on strike or laid off. During the past week troubles at the plant have resulted in lost production of about 4,000 vehicles worth nearly £5m.
The Cowley shutdown has been caused by a walkout of some assembly line workers, who are demanding layoff pay for time lost during a stoppage by 24 tyre fitters. This dispute, over a demand by the fitters for free protective footwear, was settled earlier this week. Now British Leyland faces this much more serious challenge over interpretation of its layoff pay agreement.
The management says its agreement plainly states that the layoff guarantees do not apply when work is stopped by disputes within the plant.