By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
Production of British Leyland’s best-selling Austin-Morris 1100/ 1300s and Minis is expected to stop today, and several thousand car workers be made idle, following yesterday’s walk-out by 200 engine machinists at Longbridge. It was the second stoppage in four days by the engine workers. About 1000 engine and transmission assemblers have already been laid off and production of engines for the two models halted. The machinists first stopped work on Friday over a manning dispute. They reported for work yesterday morning but left soon afterwards when management refused to meet their demands. Engine workers are causing serious trouble elsewhere in British Leyland.
All car assembly work has been paralysed at Jaguar, Coventry, since Friday. A pay dispute led to a strike by 2,000 men at the Radford component plant, and last night 2,500 men had been laid off. The strikers are not due to meet again before Thursday by which time the company will have lost £2.3m worth of production.
Crucial wage talks are taking place at the Triumph plant today. Management at the Coventry based specialist car factory is expected to reveal its plans for replacing piecework by a flat rate system similar to that introduced at Austin-Morris. Cowley and other plants in the group. Mr Bill Davis, chairman of Triumph, blames piecework for the company’s continuing losses. Shop stewards at Triumph are believed to have shifted from their original stand of “piecework or nothing” during the preliminary talks. They are now said to be prepared to accept that changes will have to be made in the system. but do not accept that a complete changeover to flat rate payments is necessary or desirable. They will press the employers to retain some form of incentive payment, which amounts to a diluted piece-work system.