FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT
BIRMINGHAM, JAN. 29
With more than 24,000 British Motor Corporation workers idle because of the strike of 55 electricians at a branch factory, new disputes broke out today at two other motor firms to threaten the employment next week of at least 10,000 other workers at Rover and Standard-Triumph factories in Birmingham and Coventry.
The first of the new strikes is at Mulliners Ltd., Bordesley Green, Birmingham. who supply car bodies to the Standard-Triumph factory at Coventry. A management spokesman said that 400 members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders walked out of the factory this morning and that it was several hours before the management could find out why. It was eventually learnt, the official continued. that the strike was over wages and conditions at a new Mulliners’ factory being developed at Tile Hill, Coventry, where the 90 employees continued to work normally. As a result of the strike Mulliners have had to lay off 150 sheet metal workers, and Standards, who were immediately affected, had to lay off 1,100 men engaged on production of the Triumph Herald.
Mr George Evans, a Birmingham official of the N.U.V.B., said that the strike was over a claim by the men that if any work was transferred from Birmingham to the new Coventry factory the workers affected should be given the right to transfer with it. The aim was to avoid possible redundancy at Bordesley Green. An agreement reached with the management yesterday would give the Mulliners’ workers at Coventry pay rates and conditions similar to those at the Standard factory. Mr Evans said that these were
“not ncecssarily” better than those at Birmingham.
The other new strike involves workers of the Rover Company. Ltd. A management spokesman said that 39 welders and fitters at the firm’s Coventry branch were on strike because they refused to accept a replacement for a worker who voluntarily left their section. Today 220 sheet metal workers at the company’s main works at Solihull stopped work in sympathy.
Meanwhile, the entire labour force of 3,800 is now idle at the B.M.C. tractor and transmission branch, Washwood Heath, as a result of the strike by 55 electricians over pay rates for electricians’ mates. The hold-up of supplies has brought B.M.C. car production very nearly to a halt. All assembly work has stopped at the Austin factory, where 14,000 workers are now idle. About 4,000 are still working on engine production.
At the Morris works, Cowley, where 1,300 men are laid off, the Oxford and Mini-Minor lines have now stopped. At Fisher and Ludlows, Birmingham, 4,000 workers are laid off.