Archive : Longbridge men end strike but Cowley still idle: more talks today

The British Leyland Austin- Morris plant at Longbridge, Birmingham, was returning to normal late last night after 200 maintenance men, who had been on strike, decided to return to work.

The Cowley plant remained idle, however, with more than 6,400 men laid off. The strike there goes into its second week tomorrow. The decision at Longbridge led to the recall of 3000 workers at the plant who had been laid off. A management spokesman said it was not clear why the men had returned. The dispute arose over a job evaluation scheme, agreed last month for 8,000 hourly paid workers at the plant.

Preliminary talks were held yesterday, between Mr Barry Mackie, Austin-Morris labour relations director, and Mr Reg Birch, engineering union executive councillor. Further discussion. on the strike by 147 fitters at Cowley was adjourned until this evening, when leaders of other unions representing indirect workers will be present.

Mr Pat Lowry, BLMC’s labour director is also expected to attend. The management is aware that whatever the outcome of the Cowley maintenance men’s claim for pay parity with the £40.60 a week electricians, another 2000 indirect workers at the plant will be demanding similar increases.

At Longbridge, the dispute is over the terms of a job evaluation scheme agreed last month, which gives 8,000 hourly-paid workers at the plant phased increases of £6.50 to £8 a week over the next 14 months. Mini, 1100-1300 and 1800 assembly lines were closed down and more than 3,000 men sent home.

The Cowley dispute, which goes into its second week tomorrow, has resulted in the laying-off of 6,490 men so far. British Leyland is also threatened with industrial action by 3500 foremen and supervisors in the Austin-Morris division. They have rejected £3 a week pay rises, and fresh talks on their claim for parity with Ford and Vauxhall foremen are being held next Monday.

Strike called off:
A strike by 400 clerical staff over a wage offer was called off yesterday at the British Leyland factory, Bathgate, West Lothian. They are seeking further negotiations after rejecting a 50p a week offer. The strike was the second stoppage at the factory this week.

Triumph halted :
Triumph Motors, Coventry, was brought to a halt yesterday afternoon when 100 material handlers walked out, complaining that it was too cold to work. Their action caused the lay-off of the entire day shift of 350 assembly track workers.

On this day Bob Knight, Jaguar’s director of Vehicle Engineering writes a memo to BLMC chairman Lord Stokes. Knight lists the planned Jaguar models and their introduction dates.

March 1972 XJ12
May 1972 LWB XJ6/12
October 1972 XJ6/12 2 door Coupe
March 1973 XJ6/12 4 door Series 2
September 1973 XJ27/XJ-S
March 1974 XJ28/XJ-S Convertible

Keith Adams

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