Further lay-offs are expected to be announced today at the Bathgate plant of British Leyland and a complete shutdown of the factory cannot be ruled out. Already 2400 men have been suspended at Bathgate because of the strike at the components plant of GKN-Sankey in Shropshire.
About 1100 are still at work at Bathgate, and last night an official of British Leyland said everything was being done to try to spin out work at the plant, but there was a limit to the length of time this could be done.
Lord stokes, chairman of the company, intends to visit the plant on Wednesday but the management official said yesterday this was one of his normal regular visits and nothing significant or dramatic should be read in to it. Nonetheless, union officials are pressing for a meeting with Lord Stokes when he comes to Scotland. The situation at the plant is, as far as they are concerned, “serious”.
Because of a drop in sales at Bathgate, about half of the labour force were due to go on a four day week last Friday.
Events, however, overtook this with the strike in England and the subsequent lay-offs. As strikes hit the UK motor industry, BLMC chairman Lord Stokes is quoted as saying: “We are cutting our own throats and bleeding ourselves to death.”
The production of Rover 2000s and 3500s at Solihull has halted at the firm’s main factory because of a strike by nine workers at the branch engine factory at Acock’s Green, Birmingham. About 1,200 workers have been laid off.
The Triumph Motor Company announced at Coventry yesterday that 2,000 would be laid off today for 24 hours because of a components shortage resulting from the GKN dispute and the remaining 5,000 men would stay away to support their campaign for lay-off pay.