SCANLON’S BID FAILS TO STOP ALLEGRO STRIKE
By David Benson
On the day the new Austin Allegro began to change hands above its list price, car workers tossed a spanner into British Leyland’s plans to step up production. Two thousand skilled maintenance workers at the Longbridge factory in Birmingham went ahead with their threat to ban work over the Spring Holiday break.
This will delay the company’s plan to open a second production line for the Allegro next Thursday. And if routine maintenance work is not done over the weekend, the existing line could be held up too. The new line would have raised output from 1,000 to 2,500 cars a week. And demand for the Allegro was demonstrated yesterday when a 1300 four-door version was auctioned for £1,160 – £20 over list price.
The Longbridge maintenance men are demanding their pay and conditions should be negotiated separately from the other 6,000 non-production workers. Engineers union leader Hugh Scanlon and the transport workers national officer, Moss Evans, attended all-day talks with the management on Thursday but they failed to produce an acceptable formula for the workers. Factory-floor meetings took place yesterday, and when the factory closed for the holiday a management spokesman said: ” Having received no reports from the meetings, we can only assume the maintenance men will not be coming in during the break.”
There has been no decision so far on whether to lay off workers.