By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
Jaguar dealers are running out of spare parts as a result of unusually militant strike picketing of the company’s factories at Coventry. All production has been at a standstill for the past 12 days with more than 5,000 workers idle.
A company spokesman said last night: “Pickets are being maintained on a 24-hour basis and are refusing to allow anything to move. This is creating serious problems on the servicing side. I am afraid an increasing number of Jaguar cars will be off the road because we cannot meet dealers’ spares requirements.”
He said that in addition a number of customers’ cars brought in for factory servicing were unable to leave. “This is a particularly important section of our business because of the large number of Jaguar enthusiasts who insist on factory servicing. Some of these owners have made long journeys from overseas only to be turned away.”
They include a Shell Oil Company executive who drove his S-type Jaguar from Morocco for a major overhaul. He had to be turned away. Two thousand assembly and trim shop workers are on strike for higher piecework rates. Both sides have expressed their willingness to talk but neither has so far made the first move. Jaguar is the last British Leyland company where the attempt is being made to change from piecework to a flat day rate. It is having to pay a high price, however, losing £450,000 worth of cars for every day the strike continues.