Four thousand workers at the Coventry factory of Jaguar Cars Limited went back to work this morning after the end of a strike by Transport and General Workers Union members over an inter-union dispute which had brought the works to a standstill.
This afternoon 3,000 workers were sent home again because of a retaliatory strike by members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders. Both sides have made statements agreeing they have no dispute with the management. The strikes have led to a serious production loss at a time when the firm have been working at full pressure preparing for their busiest export season. Already this week production of 200 cars has been lost. An official of the firm said that between 40 and 50 American customers were due to call at the factory this week to collect new cars, but unless the dispute was settled quickly the cars would not be ready. This might result in considerable loss of goodwill.
The trouble began on Monday when members of the T. and G.W.U. decided to stage a token strike in protest against two incidents involving members of the N.U.V.B. In one incident it was alleged that the N.U.V.B. had demanded the dismissal of a T. and G.W.U. assembly worker and in the other that they had forced a young ex-service man (belonging to the T. and G.W.U.) in the trim shop to join them. The T. and G.W.U. through its district secretary, Mr C. H. Urwin, regretted the interference with production at a time when there was an overwhelming demand for the company’s products and confirmed there was no dispute with the management.
They could not, however, he said, allow a state of affairs to exist where an irresponsible minority could coerce members of their union. For the N.U.V.B. there came today a denial of any coercion or intimidation. Mr C. Gallagher. area organizer of the N.U.V.B., said that has advice to his men all along had been that they were not to refuse to work with members of other unions. The union relationship agreement had got to be honoured, he said, but the T. and G.W.U. had not made it easier by their officials condoning the action of their members.
At Morris Motors factory, Cowley, Oxford, paint shop men who walked out on Monday over new schedules on the production lines decided to resume work yesterday so that negotiations could proceed. A total of 700 men at the factory had been made idle, and another 150 had been sent home from the Abingdon M.G. factory.
About 50 workers at the Austin Motor works, Longbridge, Birmingham, who went on strike on Monday over a pay dispute returned at lunchtime yesterday. Production was disrupted, but no other workers were sent home.
Jaguar Chairman Sir William Lyons wrote on the inter-union dispute at his factory on this day: “The difficulty the unions are in is, of course, due to the policy of enforcing membership. If they enforce discipline by taking away membership, they virtually take away a mans livelihood, so the penalty could really take the form of a fine.”