The 2,200 workers laid off by Austin-Morris from its car assembly plant at Cowley, Oxford, because of a dispute involving 88 paint sprayers, are to get an ex gratia payment to make up their lost earnings.
The paint sprayers will also receive the payment. They accepted the cash offer as part of the settlement of their dispute and have agreed to resume overtime. An overtime ban by the paint sprayers began 10 days ago after their claim for a special allowance had been rejected. They normally work an extra hour a day so that car production can continue throughout the shift. Under the terms of the settlement, the paint sprayers’ hours have been – cut, without, however, reducing their earnings.
Workers at Austin-Morris Longbridge, British Leyland’s biggest car plant, are trying to force a confrontation with the management over holidays. They are considering turning up for work as usual during the next statutory holiday break, Easter Monday and Tuesday.
The dispute has arisen because Longbridge employees want to combine the two extra days off, granted this year under the terms of the engineering industry pay deal, with three existing statutory, days off to make a fourth week’s holiday. The management has insisted that one of the extra days had to be taken on New Year’s Day when production is normally upset by mass absenteeism.