Six thousand workers at the Pressed Steel Fisher car body factory at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham, due to return to work on Monday after their annual holiday, have been told they are to be laid off indefinitely because of a strike by maintenance men at the works.
The company has taken advertising space in local newspapers to help spread the news. Workers at British Leyland’s motor car plant at Longbridge. Birmingham, which takes its supplies of bodies from P.S.F., are also due to return on Monday after their annual holiday. A British Leyland spokesman said last night that no lay-offs at the plant had been ordered yet. It would be up to the management to assess what the car body position was.
While there appeared to be enough bodies in stock to start work the P.S.F. dispute was obviously a threat to production. The P.S.F. strike is by about 125 maintenance men, who did not work through the two-week holiday because their interpretation of a productivity agreement does not match that of the management. A spokesman for the company said last night that a productivity agreement with the mechanical maintenance men was entered into last October, when the men received pay increases.
Separate negotiations produced another agreement for time workers in other parts of the factory under which a £1 a week pay increase was given. The maintenance men are claiming that the time workers’ agreement should apply to them, but the management says the agreements are separate, and the maintenance men have had their increases under the October agreement.
There are between 9,000 and 10.000 people employed at the factory. A spokesman said that one unfortunate aspect of the strike was that the production workers who had suffered wage cuts two weeks before their annual holiday because of the steel clerks’ strike were now returning to find themselves unable to work normally because of the maintenance dispute.