An inter-union dispute at a Birmingham steel works is threatening production at British Leyland factories in the Midlands, in spite of the fact that no materials go direct to the car giant from the factory.
The repercussions of the dispute at the Stewart & Lloyds factory in Erdington have already stopped production of bodies for the 1800 model at the Pressed Steel Fisher factory at Castle Bromwich. The Austin 3-litre is also threatened. Although production of the 1800 at the Austin factory at Longbridge and the 3-litre at Cowley, Oxford, continued normally yesterday shortage of bodies will force an early shut-down unless the difficulties are resolved.
The Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers at Stewart & Lloyds is seeking reognition for its rnaintenance workers. Eighty men are on strike in protest against the managements refusal. The management says it cannot grant recognition because it already has an agreement with the Transport & General Workerse Union and the Electrical & Plumbing Union.
The strikers have been picketing the Stewart & Lloyds factory but the Transport and General ‘Workers has instructed members drivinig lorries to the factory to ignore the picket lines. In retaliation, the A.E.F. has told its members to black contractors’ vehicles which have been delivering to Stewart & Lloyds.
A Pressed Steel Fisher spokesman said last night: “The assembly line for 1800 bodies has been stopped by the men’s action. We have managed’ to redeploy the labour affected at the moment.”
Austin-Morris output to rise
During the next three months car output from the Austin-Morris division of British Leyland is to be raised by 1250 to 18200 a week. Announcing this yesterday. George Turnbull, the managing director, said that the extra production would be shared by the Longbridge and Cowley assembly plants. Production of the Mini and the 1100-1300 range is to be stepped up, he explained. Another 350 Minis and 900 more of the small saloons would be produced.