By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
Labour relations problems at British Leyland’s Midland car plants fluctuated yesterday with one group of strikers returning to work and a second voting to stay out for at least a further week. By today more than half the 6,000 men laid off are expected to be back at work: Engine inspectors at Austin-Morris, Longbridge, who walked out on Wednesday, reported for work yesterday morning.
They were persuaded to call off their strike to allow shop stewards to begin talks with management on its lay-off policy. Some 1200 engine workers laid off because of the strike had been asked to report for work in the hope of an early settlement and engine production resumed immediately. A further 1,000 men were recalled last night to resume Mini production which has been at a standstill since Tuesday. The remaining 1,000 Mini workers are reporting this morning.
There was bad news for Jaguar however. Over 100 engine workers who have been on strike at the company’s Coventry plant since last Thursday voted to stay out and not to meet again before next Thursday. All production is at a standstill with 2500 men laid off. The dispute over a labour loading issue will have cost the company at least £4m in lost production by next Thursday.