A PUNK teenager with green hair sparked a wild-cat strike which cost car giant Austin Rover £2 million in lost production yesterday. Darren Kelly, 19, who sports a mohican-style haircut, was sacked from the Longbridge car plant In Birmingham for persistent absenteeism.
His workmates in the trim-shop walked out in protest, halting production of the Rover 200. Transport union officials were desperately trying to persuade the 180 unofficial strikers to return to work last night. Each day the strike goes on the firm will lose £2,450,000 of cars at showroom prices. Mr Kelly was fired after taking the day off with a painfully stubbed big toe.
But bosses said the sacking was already in the pipeline.
An Austin Rover spokesman said : ‘He had an abysmal absence record, Since 1st April he was absent for 51 shifts and on 31 of those occasions was unable to give either an explanation or a medical certificate.
‘He was given warning that he would be dismissed if he was absent again. At the family home in Gorsey Mead Grove. Northfield, his mother Kathleen said’He is very upset
‘He was genuinely ill when he was absent. He’s a good lad and you don’t judge a book by its cover.’