By R. W. Shakespeare
British Leyland components workers, whose month-old strike has cost more than £18.5m worth of lost car production and made 11,000 other workers idle, are to continue their unofficial stoppage. They will not meet again until July 31, four days after their factory at Hemel Hempstead is due to reopen after the summer holidays, which begin tonight.
The decision, taken at a mass meeting yesterday, means that some of British Leyland’s big car plants will also be closing down for the holidays at the end of next week, with thousands of workers still laid off and not knowing if they will be able to return to work when their holiday ends. This news from British Leyland, which also has a shutdown at its Alvis military vehicles factory in Coventry with 2,000 workers idle because of a separate pay dispute, came on a day that also brought a surprising pay settlement covering about 8,000 white collar workers in the Corporation’s car divisions, who have accepted increases of £6 a week.
Mr Ray Edwards, assistant general secretary of Apex, the clerical workers’ union, said: “In cost of living terms our members could have justified a much larger increase. However, the Government has taken action to save jobs in British Leyland. Now Leyland staff have kept their part of the bargain and have accepted pay increases that will help the Government to tackle inflation.”
The 800 workers who are on strike in the Hemet Hempstead components factory, which makes axles and suspension units for a number of car ranges, are demanding an interim pay settlement of £10.