Archive : Standard Workers Refuse Wage Cut

From Our Correspondent

Shop stewards at Standard Triumph International, of Coventry, today unanimously rejected proposals by the firm to cut wages of the 6,000 workers to reduce car prices.  The decision was taken at a 90-minute meeting between stewards from all the firm’s Coventry factories and full-time union officials. A union spokesman said afterwards: “The rejection was unanimous. The stewards will now report back to the management.”

The management’s plans, which involve pay cuts from £1 to £5 10s. a week, are linked with the introduction of a bigger version of the Triumph Herald, all-round price cuts in the group’s range, and a return to full production.  At present some men work a three- day week and others four days. The new piece-work rates would be brought in when a five-day week was resumed. The highest cut would affect the highest paid, who were averaging £23 a week when a full week was worked.

The company, in a statement confirming that proposals for piecework rate adjustments had been made, declared: “They are consistent with the company’s efforts to reduce costs in order to meet increasing competition in export markets.”

A management spokesman commented: “Production and administrative costs must be cut to the utmost. The time has come when pay increases cannot be passed on to the customer.”

One of the nine union officials who attended today’s meeting said: “It is not sufficient to say there will be such and such a reduction in wages. We want to know how much the new car is going to cost to make and what effect on the ultimate price of the car the pay reductions will have. The firm have just talked in general terms about competition, economic production and what you.”

It was yesterday that Standard Triumph International announced that their employees with over six months’ service could buy the company’s cars and vans at 17-5 per cent under the list Price. Previously this top rate of discount was available only to men with more than 10 years’ service.

Our Birmingham Correspondent writes:- Birmingham ,trade unionists have been watching the situation at Coventry with concern today, and the decision of the Standard workpeople has been widely approved here.

“Once you accept an offer like that you are on the slippery slope and there is no stopping “, said Mr J. Gardiner, a district organizer of the National Union of Vehicle Builders.

Down To 2 1/2 Day Week

Workers at Morris Motors, Cowley, and the M.G. Cars Company, Abingdon, were told today that they are to go on a two-and-a-half day week from the beginning of next week.  Night shift workers will be on a two-day week. The announcement of this further cut in production was made to the 10,000 Oxford and Abingdon car workers at lunchtime today by the B.M.C. management.

The announcement said that some reduction and alterations in production programmes of certain models were being discussed by the management and trade union representatives at both factories. In effect the necessary adjustments meant that there was sufficient work for the equivalent of two-and-a- half day shifts and two night shifts.

A spokesman said: “Every effort will be made to minimize the effect on workers of this shorter working week.”

It was in November that B.M.C. announced that they would have to cut the working week to three days. A trade union official at Oxford commented after the announcement of the new cuts: “This will have the effect of forcing workers out of the industry.”

Keith Adams
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