By R. W. Shakespeare
Trouble in the British Leyland car plants persisted yesterday. All production remained at a standstill in the Rover complex at Solihull, Birmingham, and a fresh walkout again halted production at the Austin-Morris engines factory at Longbridge.
Output of Rover cars, Land-Rovers and Range-Rovers, has now been stopped for two full days, with production losses running at the rate of £1m a day at showroom values, because of a strike by 150 inspectors at Solihull. About 2,700 production workers on the day and night shifts have been laid off for ” an indefinite period “. The inspectors’ strike, which is unofficial, is in support of their demand to be regraded into a higher wage bracket. So far no fresh negotiations have been arranged and it seems unlikely that any production will be resumed today.
Yesterday there was a fresh walkout by 240 toolroom workers on the day shift at Longbridge, where work in the engines department, which feeds the Mini, Marina and Allegro car assembly lines, was resumed on Monday after a stoppage over the dismissal of two men who, the management allege, had been fighting on the shop floor. The toolroom workers were protesting about the fact that although the two men had been reinstated they are still suspended without pay pending the outcome of talks between the management and union officials. The entire production day-shift of 1,500 men had to be sent home again.
Later a company spokesman said: “A fresh formula has been agreed in talks today, and this will be put to the night-shift workers tonight and the day-shift men tomorrow.”