Archive : Rebels cut-off Leyland plant

By David Jack

Behind the barbed-wire barricade are the men who refused to accept defeat. On the day that Leyland workers all over the country voted 3 to 1 against striking, these menled by Communist Derek Robinson declared: ‘We’re staying out.’

As pickets they threw up the barricade to prevent construction workers reaching the £300 million Super-Mini factory nearlng completion, at Longbridge, Birmingham. It was on Wednesday that 19,000 Leyland workers at Longbridge jumped the gun and went on strike in the row over pay rises and productivity. The rebels warned yesterday that the ‘war’would go on. Company bosses will have to wait until Monday to see if union chiefs can persuade them to fall into line. Union convenor Mr Robinson was uncompromising ‘The barricades and the pickets will remain around the clock until the management pays up.’

Last night West Midlands police chiefs were holding talks on the legality of the barbed-wire blockade. A spokesman said: ‘It is a complex and delicate issue.’

The main problem is that the barricade is on private land. But there was no hiding the company’s relief at the majority rejection of strike action. Leyland said: ‘The rejection of the strike call is a clear indication that the vast majority of the work force is prepared to back the recovery of British Leyland.’

In the Commons, Industry Secretary Eric Varley warned there would be no more Government cash if Leyland’s decline continues. He slammed workers who ‘strike first and talk afterwards’.

Keith Adams

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