By Alan Law
A tough warning was being sent to 16,000 car workers by British Leyland last night. Letters will tell them bluntly that the strike by 250 engine tuners is preventing their plant at Cowley, Oxford, reaching its survival budget.
Further losses caused by the strike—which has cut production by a fifth — would be “calamitous.”
And it adds: “There would be the strongest likelihood of—at best—a major reduction of manufacturing and employment.” As the letters were going out the company’s top executives travelled to the Government’s new Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration service in London.
They explained in detail why they are opposing the engine-tuners demand for upgrading. Today, Engineering Union leaders, who represent the strikers, will put their case.
The letter was sent by plant director John Symonds. It said: “The Government has guaranteed additional overdraft facilities for only six months. This means that we in British Leyland have been given six months to prove ourselves.”
Registrations of new cars and vans in Britain dropped by a quarter last year — from 1,688,322 to 1,273,814.