From Our Correspondent, Oxford
Mr Alan Thornett, whom British Leyland refused to recognize as a shop steward, is standing down as deputy convener for the Transport and General Workers’ Union and as chairman of the joint shop stewards’ committee at the Leyland car assembly plant at Cowley, but the union wants him to continue as a steward for the drivers.
The company’s action had caused a three-week strike by 130 men in the transport department. On Monday they decided to resume work until the union made the dispute official. Mr Moss Evans, the union’s senior official in the motor industry, who has taken charge of the Thornett affair, made a statement yesterday to try to clear up confusion which had arisen after two attempts to call members to a mass meeting.
Worker complain that they are still being denied a vote, but Mr Evans said there had been a total change in the position. There was now only one issue: whether Mr Thornett should be a steward in the transport department. Leyland says its attitude is unchanged. This was last explained to the union a week ago when the suggestion was first made that Mr Thornett should act only as a steward for the drivers pending the result of an inquiry. Leyland then said that because of Mr Thornett’s past conduct it could not accept the proposal.
Our Northern Industrial Correspondent writes:
A fresh dispute broke out yesterday at British Leyland’s Morris/Austin plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. An unofficial strike by 120 men in the engine factory led to 2,000 other night shift workers being laid off. As with the Cowley transport drivers, a demand for layoff pay has started the trouble.