By Kingsley Squire
While 400 car workers continued their extraordinary go-slow to ‘protect’ their jobs against strikes, British Leyland chiefs were last night adding up the probable cost of the campaign: £125,000 a week in lost exports alone. It has already lost the company 200 new-cars in two days – at least 80 of which would have gone for export.
The men are working slower in the Austin Mini section at Longbridge, Birmingham, because they fear being laid off by a strike within the Lucas Group. This company supplies the fittings they put into the car-bodies – seats,windows, carpets, and lights.
Last night a B.M.C. spokesman said : – ‘These men are taking what they believe to be a precaution. But it’s quite useless. The Lucas strike may very well be over before we run out of supplies. All the men will have achieved is to lose us valuable production particularly in the export field and themselves valuable earnings.’
And now the campaign threatens to lay off 2,500 Austin workers. The men are members of the Vehicle Builders Union. They have refused to accept the assurance that there are plenty of components in stock. Earlier Mr George Evans, regional organiser of the Vehicle Builders, defended the men’s action.
He said: ‘These fellows are fed up to the back teeth at being laid off by strikes which are nothing to do with them.’
TALKS to end the Lucas strike which threatens the entire car industry will resume today.