By CLIFFORD WEBB,
Midland Industrial Correspondent
Internal truck drivers at Pressed Steel Fisher’s Coventry car body plant yesterday called off their 10 day old strike over a claim for additional payment for emptying refuse bins. The strike threatened thousands of jobs at other British Leyland plants and hurried arrangements were being made last night to recall the 1000 men laid off by the stoppage.
The plant produces bodies for the M.G.B sports car and Morris 1000 estate car. The men have been promised an early meeting with the management on the issue of bringing in outside contractors to empty the bins. At the Castle Bromwich Birmingham. factory of Pressed Steel, 500 clerks stopped work vesterday, complaininig of the rates received by other workers.
Rover names managing director
One of the first non-Leyland appointments to a key position since B.M.H. and Leyland merged a year ago was announced yesterday. Mr. A. B. Smith, 58. was named as the next managing director of Rover, the company he joined 44 years ago. He succeeds Bill Martin-Hurst, 65, who retires on October 1. As Rover’s general manager since 1962. “A.B.” as he is known throughout the motor industry, has played a big part in Rover’s rapid progress to become one of the most profitable units in the British Leyland group. A.B.’s” is a veritable rags to riches story.
He had to leave school at 14 when his father died. To fill in time while waiting for a promised job with a Birmingham export firm he took a job at Rover’s Tyseley factory as a stores boy. He was persuaded to stay on when his weekly wage of 7s. was doubled and he was promoted to the buying department. Buying has remained his forte ever since giving him the reputation among component firms of being one of the most astute price negotiators in the business.
Car men in rumpus over union ‘trial’
By EDWARD LAXTON
Shop stewards have held secret “courts” and fined workers for not supporting an unofficial strike firm where the notorious “noose trials” were once held, disclosed yesterday. Now the stewards have been ordered by Transport and General Workers Union officials to repay the £2 fines.
Two senior shop stewards held the ” courts” last month after a two-day unofficial stoppage in the Morris Motors assembly plant, Cowley, Oxford. Three years ago, seven men who ignored an unofficial strike were fined £3 each at a mass meeting at the neighbouring BMC service depot. The fines and the men’s ‘” noose ” trial — they were tried under a dangling rope shaped as a hangman’s noose — were condemned later by three big BMC unions.
Last month thirty Morris Motors men who ignored the unofficial strike were told to pay fines to charity . One of the thirty, storeman Adrian Buckland , 22 said yesterday that he and another man were called to face shop stewards in a foreman’s office. After a 75-minute healing. Mr Buckland said they were told to appear next day—at 7.15 a.m.—in a conference room. At this hearing, he said, a BMC labour-relations official was present.
“They argued with us all morning ,” he went on. ‘ The labour – relations man said afterwards that the management would like to support people taking our stand but they had to go along with the majority.”
Mr Buckland added : “He certainly knew about the demand for fines.”
The senior shop stewards officiating at the courts were Mr Bob Fryer and Mr John Underwood, the storeman said. Mr Cryer of the TGWU, said: “I know nothing about any coercion to make payments for charity.”
Mr Underwood, of the Amalgamated Engineering and Foundry Workers, said: “Anyone who has a complaint to make should take it up through his union.