British Leyland’s labour troubles which have halted car and commercial vehicle production in several major centres and cost many millions of pounds in lost output during the past three weeks seem to be easing.
The 8,500 workers at the corporation’s five bus and truck factories in Lancashire who have been on strike during this week voted at a mass meeting yesterday to return to work on Monday. The vote was so narrow that Mr Len Brindle, the convener, used his casting vote in favour of calling off the stoppage.
He said the management had agreed to re-open negotiations on a new deal for the bus and truck plants. The shop-floor representatives had given the management a fortnight to come forward with a reasonable offer. Previous negotiations in which the employers wanted to phase out the piecework system in favour of a new wages structure broke down because shop-floor representatives would not accept a pay settlement within the Government’s £1 plus 4 per cent Phase Two formula.
At British Leyland’s Austin-Morris plant at Cowley where 3,500 body-plant workers are on strike, making about 6,000 other workers idle and stopping all production of Marina and Maxi cars, there will be a mass meeting today, with hopes of a return to work.
A protest sit-in by 90 workers in the Jaguar bus building plant continued at Coventry where 2,000 men were laid off by a lack of components from outside suppliers. Meanwhile, 200 Jaguar machine shop workers went back yesterday after a protest strike over a pay grievance.