Archive : Sports Car Factory’s Production Halved


Production at the British Motor Corporation’s sports car factory at Abingdon, Berkshire, has been cut by about half but no one has been laid off.

Some men who were working on the assembly lines have been found jobs at the B.M.C.’s Cowley factory, and others who were on piecework have been switched to an hourly rate of pay. A 60 per cent cut in the production of M.G.A. bodies for Abingdon has led to between 200 and 300 men at the B.M.C. Morris bodies factory at Coventry working for only one and a half to two days a week. It is understood that instead of two lines producing the M.G.A. at Abingdon, one is now being used for the assembly of Morris vans. One of the two Austin Healey Sprite lines is being used for the production of the Morris Traveller. The Austin Healey 3000 line is still in operation but production is about half what it was.

In June the B.M.C. announced that production schedules at Abingdon would be reduced and would be accompanied by redeployment of workers. This, said the corporation, was a seasonal adjustment.

Car Firm Put Some Coventry Workers On 19-Hour Week
From Our Correspondent

Moves by trade unions came yesterday after it was stated that some workers at the Coventry factories of Standard Triumph International, Ltd., are to begin a 19-hour week. A spokesman for the firm said tonight that less than 25 per cent of the 8,000 workers at the factories were “in the early stage ” to work a two and a half day week. The remainder, he said, would work longer hours than this. In union circles, however, it is feared that the number of men concerned will be far in excess of the company’s estimate.

The company spokesman added: “To avoid redundancy the company has decided upon short-time working. The work available varies from department to department as do also the hours of work. Details of the work available are under discussion between the company and the workers’ representatives. It will be some days before a complete picture will be available.”

When notices were posted on the works notice boards announcing the move, shop stewards immediately made representations to the management. The firm’s 1,000 clerks, fearing redundancy, asked for a similar meeting, and also sent a telegram to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to ease financial restrictions on the motor- industry.

Standard-Triumph, who produce about 5,000 cars a week, are understood to have cut production of the Vanguard range by half because of the credit squeeze and falling American sales. A 30 per cent cut has been made in the Triumph Herald and Triumph sports car output.

The average wage of manual workers at the firm is £23 a week. The cut in hours is expected to reduce the weekly pay packets to about £11 to £12. The Coventry district committee of the Amalgamated Engineering Union has called for a meeting of delegates from all the chief motor industry centres. The meeting would be attended by shop stewards, local and national A.E.U. officials, and M.P.s. The present trends in the industry would be discussed. The Coventry district federation of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions is to hold a special meeting on October 12. The problems facing the motor industry will be discussed by delegates.

Keith Adams

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