Clifford Webb writes:
Negotiations to end piecework at British Leyland’s Longbridge, Birmingham, car plant opened yesterday with yet another strike The latest stoppage was a direct result of the interim pay award the company made two days ago to settle the fortnight old strike by 130 women sewing machinists which had severely hit production.
About 1000 engine workers walked out yesterday claiming that a similar interim award should have been paid to them. The engine workers have staged a series of strikes over the last two months in a claim for higher piece-work rates. The company refused to make any offer unless it was included in a general change to a flat day rate. But on Wednesday it gave the women a £4 a week increase on their piecework rates, explaining that it was a temporary measure until a plant-wide changeover could be negotiated.
Production of engines for the 1100/1300 range stopped and final assembly of this model was halted soon afterwards. About 1,000 assembly workers were laid off. A British Leyland spokesman said last night that after discussions yesterday afternoon there had been a unanimous recommendation by the shop stewards and works committee that the 1,000 engine assemblers should report for work on Monday.
In the hope that the strikers would heed the call the company was recalling the 1,000 men laid off.