By John Torode
A total of 6630 workers in the Midlands motor industry were laid off yesterday because of a strike of 130 external delivery drivers employed at the Castle Bromwich plant of Pressed Steel-Fisher. Another 1000 men are likely to be made idle today and further large scale layoffs are expected if the dispute is not resolved quickly.
The company yesterday failed to get in touch with national officials of the Transport and General Workers Union but will try again today. Some 3400 day shift workers and 1750 night shift workers were sent home from the Pressed Steel-Fisher factory and 800 day and 730 night-shift workers were laid off at the Austin plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. Work on the production of Mini cars stopped. The 1,000 men employed on the Austin 1100 are likely to be hit today.
The dispute followed a decision by the company to close its external transport department and give the contract for delivery work to British Road Services The drivers, who average about £28 take home pay for a 53 to 55-hour week, claim they would drop up to £10 a week if they transferred, to BRS, and that 90 of them would be declared redundant.
The merchant bankers for both BMH and Leyland meet, location unknown. Also present are George Turnbull and John Barber from Leyland and Ronald Lucas of BMH.
The BMC/Leyland talks – update
Leyland holds a board meeting. Shortly after it begins they are joined by Sir George Harriman and Alec Layborn of BMH.
At 6.15 pm the full boards of both BMH and Leyland meet at the IRC’s offices for more discussions.