FROM OUR MIDLAND CORRESPONDENT
COVENTRY, FEB. 13
Flattered by the congratulations of four local trade union officials, Jaguar car workers today voted to end the dispute in which 4,500 of them have been on strike.
The majority in favour of returning to work tomorrow morning was enormous. Yesterday afternoon a negotiating committee of shop stewards agreed with the management that the two men who worked at Jaguars during the engineering strike on February 5 should not go to work for a fortnight while the union dealt with the matter. Yesterday evening the Jaguar branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union agreed that the men should each be fined £5. It is said to be entirely a happy coincidence that the two men themselves offered to be suspended from work for two weeks without pay.
The fates have been remarkably astute. Because the two men were not recommended for expulsion from the union, Jaguars will not be faced with a damaging and lengthy haggle over the employment of non-union labour. The two men concerned have not been dismissed but at least they have acted in a well-publicized spirit of penitence and suffered a financial loss that will far exceed the pay lost by individual strikers. Union officials are solemnly stating that there is no question of the whole thing having been planned in advance. Otherwise, indeed. some people’s first reaction might have been to compliment whoever thought of it upon his mental agility.
There is no doubt that the strike might easily have been very much worse. It has cost the company about 700 cars with a total market value of about £1,500,000, an official said today. The company had never been prepared to dismiss the two men although it was willing to allow them to remain away from work for a fortnight. Allowing then to lose their livelihod would have been dishonourable, he said.