Production of British Leyland’s Morris Marina was at a standstill yesterday for the second time in recent weeks because of a strike by maintenance workers at the Cowley, Oxford, assembly plant. Nearly 2,000 workers are laid off. It is unlikely that production will be resumed before Tuesday at the earliest when the 147 men on strike are due to meet again.
They are demanding a pay rise in line with one given to electricians last week. A company spokesman said that although they wanted the same money the maintenance men were not prepared to take part in negotiations on improved productivity as the electricians were doing. The 2,000 assembly workers were sent home when maintenance men were not available to repair a breakdown in the automatic painting plant.
All 3,200 -hourly paid employees at the British Leyland factory, Bathgate, West Lothian, yesterday accepted a shop stewards’ proposal to operate short time on a nine day fortnight basis. Earlier this week British Leyland stated that short time was necessary to save the jobs of 360 employees who were classed as in excess to present labour requirements because of a decline in export orders for trucks.
The company suggested a four day week in some truck sections, while a five-day week was to continue in agricultural tractor production. But yesterday British Leyland said they had agreed to the nine day fortnight throughout the factory. The short time will start next week and will be reviewed at the end of July.