By Edward Townsend
Workers at British Leyland’s Birmingham transmissions plant, whose strike has caused. 18,500 car workers to be laid off, returned to work last night. The 2,000 strikers agreed to resume despite the lack of a new wages offer from the company.’
Mr. Arthur Harper, convener at the Washwood Heath factory, said: “Nothing concrete has been laid down in terms of cash, but the management know our aspirations and are prepared to talk on those lines.”
British Leyland said that further negotiations could now take place. Full resumption of work at the Oxford and Birmingham assembly plants is expected today. Mr Harper denied that the return to work vote had been influenced by the company’s indication earlier this week that it might be willing to make one lump sum payment to all 160,000 BLMC hourly paid workers instead of threshold payments, in return for union assurances of better industrial relations.
The company has estimated that a full threshold payment would cost £45m a year. The company’s lump sum offer could bring a swift end to the month-long strike by 450 clerical staff at the commercial vehicle factory at Bathgate, West Lothian, which has made 4,500 production men idle.. Shop stewards yesterday travelled to Brighton to discuss the issue with national officials attending the TUC conference.