By R. W. Shakespeare
The overtime ban in the engineering industry, called by the unions in support of pay demands for two million workers in about 5,000 companies, began to bite deeply into production schedules yesterday. This was the first full working day for the whole industry after the Easter holidays. With the start of early morning shifts, it quickly became clear that the ban was being widely observed.
The car industry, and British Leyland plants in particular, was once again in trouble. Production could not start until the afternoon at the big Austin Morris plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. More than 3,400 day-shift workers who clocked on at 7.30 am had to be sent home and told to report back later in the day. There were also start-up problems and lost production at the British Leyland Triumph and Jaguar factories in Coventry.
An engineering employers’ spokesman in the Midlands said that a great many companies, especially those with foundries and heat treatment equipment had experienced difficulties. The industry’s main problems centred initially on maintenance and service activities which are normally carried out on an overtime basis outside normal shifts.
This was the position at Longbridge where equipment in the foundries, the heat treatment plants and the paint sections of the factory had not been made ready in time for the start of the production shifts. As a result of the delays about five hours of production were lost. The Longbridge management is calling in all workers for their normal shifts today.
A company spokesman said: “We will be doing our best to reach full production levels.”