Len Brindle, chairman of the Leyland joint works committee, addressing the meeting of workers at Leyland Motors yesterday. He told them that the A.E.F. district committee had recommended to the union’s national executive that the strike be made official. A mass meeting of most of the 8.500 workers who have been on unofficial strike from five British Leyland factories in Lancashire since Monday morning, voted yesterday afternoon to continue the stoppage.
Another meeting will be held next Thursday. The workers, most of whom belong to the Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers, sent a further request to their unions for official support. Strike leaders appeared hopeful that this would be forthcoming.
A spokesman for the Engineering Employers’ Federation said that a request had been received from A.E.F. headquarters for the federation to sponsor joint management-union talks on the dispute. He added: “No such meeting has been arranged, since the strike is unconstitutional. There must be a return to work before negotiations”.
The strike-over a pay claim, has brought production of buses, commercial vehicles, diesel engines, and spares to a standstill at four factories in Leyland and another in near by Chorley. At Solihull, Dr Kurt Lotz, head of the German car giant Volkswagen, arrived at British Leyland’s prestige Rover car plant yesterday and found it at a standstill with 3,000 assembly workers on strike. The strike began on Wednesday after Rover had laid off 300 workers on the 2000 assembly line because of a shortage of engines.
More than 400 men at the MG factory at Abingdon, returned to work yesterday after a day’s lay off because of a shortage of car bodies and engines, caused by strikes at British Leyland Coventry factories, which have now been settled.