By R. W. Shakespeare
British Leyland had to lay off more workers at its Castle Bromwich car body plant yesterday, bringing the total idle there to 1,600, as a shortage of components continued to hit production.
But some output of incomplete vehicles has been resumed in a number of plants. A British Leyland management spokesman stressed that every effort was being made to keep people at work this side of the Easter holidays. Production schedules have been rearranged, some men are working a shorter week on a rota basis and incomplete vehicles are being stockpiled. The next crucial time for British Leyland, and for most other sectors of the vehicle industry, will be at another mass meeting on Friday by the 2,000 workers who are on strike from Rubery Owen group component factories in the Midlands.
So far there have been no fresh moves to settle their three week-old dispute over a new wages structure. As things stand it seems probable there will be another vote to continue the stoppage into a fourth week. British Leyland is feeling the brunt of the component shortage. As well as the lay-offs at Castle Bromwich, production of Minis is stopped at Longbridge, Birmingham, where another 1,500 workers are laid off.
The Rover plant at Solihull has been stopped for a fortnight but yesterday some production of 2000 and 3500 cars, without wheels, was resumed. The Rover workers are being brought in on a rota system