BY Clifford Webb
The national overtime ban by engineering union workers is already causing serious production losses to British Leyland. Yesterday all car assembly stopped at Austin-Morris at Longbridge and Triumph at Coventry. More than 6,000 workers were laid off last night. A company spokesman said further lay-offs were likely next week because of the effects of the ban on component suppliers.
He added: “We have been told to expect less than 75 per cent of scheduled deliveries from some of our key component makers.”
Yesterday, 3,000 Longbridge assembly workers were sent home at midday to enable maintenance and safety work to be carried out during the remainder of the shift. This is work normally done as overtime. Several thousand engine and gearbox workers at Longbridge also face layoffs next week as a result of the strike which has closed the group’s Cowley plant. They produce the components for Cowley’s Marina and Maxi models.
The stoppage could last for some time. The company has refused payment on two counts: that the strikers are members of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, the union imposing the overtime ban, and that existing layoff agreements exclude payment for stoppages resulting from strikes within the company. Meanwhile the strike by 150 workers at British Leyland’s Cowley assembly plant, where 12,500 workers had to be laid off, is to continue.
By a clear majority at their meeting yesterday men in the transport department, voted to stay out until next Thursday and to continue their protest against Leyland’s refusal to recognize Mr Alan Thornett as a shop steward. He is the chief spokesman for the transport department and the deputy convener for the Transport & General Workers’ Union at the plant.