By CLIFFORD WEBB, Midland Industrial Correspondent
Within a few hours of returning to work yesterday 200 strikers at British Leyland’s biggest car plant at Longbridge, Birmingham walked out again. Production of Austin Morris 1100/1300 models was halted. Eight hundred men recalled to begin work were sent home thus making 1,600 men idle at the plant. This latest flare-up was again caused by. a dispute over piece-work rates, a working system rejected by all the “big four” car companies except British Levland.
The company is now faced with a nationwide series of strikes. Production of the 1800 model is already at a standstill with 600 men laid off because of a shortage of heaters from the strike hit Witnev factorv of Smiths Industries. Austin Morris’ Cowley plant output has been halted for nearly a fortnight because of an unofficial strike by 126 electricians. Four thousand men are laid off.
Management and unions at Cowley met yesterday to consider the company’s latest proposals for a new pay structure for the plant’s day workers who include the striking electricians. An inter-union dispute at the group’s Pressed Steel Fisher factory in Birmingham has led to 800 men being sent home. There are now 1,600 men idle at P.S.F. factories in the Midlands.
Jaguar E-type sports car production has been stopped by a shortage of brakes from Girling’s Bromborough, Cheshire, factory. Five hundred Jaguar assembly workers were laid off last night and though the Girling strike ended on Monday it is unlikely that sufficient supplies will reach Jaguar to permit work to restart this week.
One thousand five hundred Rover workers recalled yesterday were warned that until brake supplies return to normal they can only be found work on a day to day basis.
Car works pay disputes cost £750,000 a day
By GEOFFREY WHITELEY,
Northern Labour Correspondent
Pay disputes which have been harassing production in the Austin-Morris division of the British Leyland corporation for more than a week have resulted in the loss of 8,000 cars so far, the company said yesterday. The cost of stoppages at its assembly plants in Oxford and Birmingham is running at about £750,000 a day.