A voluntary six-month standstill on wage claims has been agreed to by the 4500 workers at British Leyland’s truck and tractor plant at Bathgate, West Lothian. In return the workers, who have recently been on short time because of a fall-off in orders, have been given a guarantee by the management that they will get a full five-day working week and will not forgo opportunities to improve their bonus payments between now and February.
In addition the management has agreed to start negotiations on a new pay deal in March, to take effect from June 1. If the negotiations go on after that date the subsequent settlement will be back-dated to June 1st. The Bathgate workers had demanded an all-round increase of £3 a week payable from this month. Now at the managements request this claim has been “frozen” for six months.
A shop steward spokesman at the plant said yesterday: “We have postponed the claim to give the firm an opportunity to re-cover from a recession situation. All claims in the factory are postponed for six months. Both shop-floor workers and staff are affected.”
Most of the labour force at Bathgate have had their earnings reduced over short-time working in the past few months and bonus earnings have also been cut. Last October 550 workers at the plant were made redundant.
Storm Over Men Who Worked On
By William Daniels
Workers disrupted a cars plants production yesterday when they demanded reprisal action against colleagues who worked on New Year’s Day instead of attending a demonstration.
Production of Mini and 1800 models was badly hit by militants at British Leyland’s giant Longbridge works at Birmingham.
They demanded that workers who missed the anti – Industrial Relations Bill protest should be docked a day’s pay.
They say that this will ensure that the workers who refused to join the demonstration do not gain by their action.