Archive : More Redundancy In Car Industry

Short-time working with an average three-day week is in operation at all Coventry car factories except Jaguar’s. Cuts in the working week announced by the British Motor Corporation on Thursday night will bring the total number of workers in the industry on short time to more than 70,000.

An official of the National Union of Vehicle Builders said in Birmingham yesterday that the position would get worse. The trouble in the car industry is also affecting the Pressed Steel Company at Swindon, who said yesterday that they had no alternative but to make 1,100 men redundant over the next four weeks. Those remaining will do a substantial amount of short-time working. The Swindon factory employs about 4,000 men.

At Carbodies’ Coventry factory, 106 men were dismissed yesterday, and 600 car body workers at the Light Steel Pressings factory at Acton, London, were sent home because of hold-ups in deliveries from Coventry. Representatives of the 241 clerks, draughtsmen and scientific workers who are to be dismissed by Standard Motors at Coventry next week are to meet the management on Monday to discuss a proposal by the employees for short time working instead of redundancy.

The Derby factory of Qualcast, Ltd., which produces engine and other castings, has dismissed 100 men in the past few weeks because of the recession in the motor industry, it was announced last night. The reduction amounts to 5 per cent of the labour force.

Situation worsening

In Birmingham yesterday, Mr George Evans, Midlands area or ganiser of the National Union of Vehicle Builders , said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent statement in the Commons that he could do nothing yet to ease restrictions meant that the present position in the car industry would last a “considerable time longer .. . . Inevitably, as I see it , the position wil get worse, and I think we are reaching the stage where, if more short-time comes along, it will degenerate into redundancy. ”

All production workers at Morris Motors (cars branch), Cowley, Oxford , and the MG car company, Abingdon, will be on a three-day week. At the Longbridge , Birmingham , factory, one third of the 17.000 production workers will be on a five-day week , one-third on a four-day week, and the remainder on three days. Men working on the BMC ” babies “, the Austin 7 and Morris Mini-Minor , will continue on a five-day week to meet the ” tremendous demand ” for these cars.

Short-time working with an average three-day week is in operation at all Coventry car factories , with the exception of Jaguars, where the men are on a full five day week. Representitives of the clerks, draughtsmen, and scientific workers who are being dismissed next week by Standard Motors, Coventry, yesterday sought meetings with the management. Mr K. Kelly, Midland organiser of the Association of Engineering and Shipbuilding Draughtsmen, said they wanted to discuss the implications of such a high proportion of redundancy among technical staff , 78 of the 180 draughtsmen are being dismissed. Mr Roy Hughes, spokesman for the clerks, declared : “We are still opposed to redundancy. “‘ The staff workers say they will not accept redundancy while short-time working is practicable.

At the Coventry factory of Carbodies , Ltd., 106 men were being dismissed yesterda y—15 fewer than the firm first stated. A strike of 850 workers at Carbodies, in protest against the dismissals, ended last week. Car shares fell sharply yesterday on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr George Brown, Labour ‘s deputy leader, said in Coventry last night that there must be a full inquiry by the Government , employers, and union leaders into the future of the car industry. He was addressing members of a Transport and General Workers branch of the Standard Motor Company, where 2,000 workers have been dismissed this week. He said that the “artificial restrictions ” that had been put on the industry must be eased in the home markets, and added: “The American market has gone sour on us. But there are other markets in the world. The whole Asian world is some day going to take to motor-cars. Perhaps we can do something in the way of long-term credits to get into these markets in front of other people. There must be a real willingness by managements, unions , and the Government to get together on this matter. “

Keith Adams
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