Archive : Disputes halve output at BLMC Cowley works

By R. W. Shakespeare

Three-day week operations at British Leyland’s Austin-Morris assembly plant at Cowley, Oxford. have been halved because of internal labour disputes. No vehicles were produced on the night shift last night and the assembly lines will be shut today, one of the plant’s “power on” days under the emergency regulations.

This means that 8,500 workers are idle, losing not only their normal pay rates but overtime premiums for weekend working. Part of yesterday’s day shift at Cowley was also lost, and 4,000 assembly workers were sent home because of a new dispute involving 170 lorry drivers who walked out. The men demanded that they should revert to a normal five- day week of eight-hour shifts instead of the emergency three day working with overtime.

There was one quite significant “straw in the wind” yesterday, when most of the 800 workers in the print shop signed a petition expressing “no confidence ” in their shop stewards over the decision to call the overtime ban. The management has already made a personal approach to each of the 3,000 workers directly involved in the overtime ban decision, which follows a dispute over lay-off pay.

The feeling among management officials was that a vote taken at a meeting of workers earlier this week, after which the stewards announced the ban did not represent the majority view on the shop floor.

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created 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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