By Martin Adeney
The motor industry slid from bad to worse yesterday when the 600 toolmakers at British Leyland’s Castle Bromwich plant who have caused about 30,000 other workers to be laid off decided to continue their strike for another fortnight, and Ford announced an extension of short-time working at Dagenham.
The Castle Bromwich decision is a shattering blow to Leyland and a snub to the men’s union, the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (Engineering Section). It has instructed the men to return to work, and this was reinforced by another directive from Mr Scanlon, the union president, this week. Apart from the consequential layoffs as Castle Bromwich the action by the 600 toolmakers at the body plant has closed the Jaguar factory in Coventry and stopped Mini production at Longbridge.
Only 12 of the 500 or so present voted against continuing the strike when they met yesterday. The men are calling for £12 a week increases to restore differentials against production workers. The company has offered £5.25 and is insisting on a return to work before talks are resumed.