FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
COVENTRY, JUNE 22
With the production level at 100 cars a day, Jaguar Cars Ltd., of Coventry, was brought to an indefinite standstill today; the firm’s entire production force of 3,500 had to be sent home because of a strike by 220 work inspectors. Only a few people-in non-productive departments-were able to carry on.
The strikers hold key jobs, for they approve or reject work on the production line. They stopped work on Friday, complaining that in spite of negotiations since last November on their wage grievance there had been no settlement. They met today and decided to stay out on strike and to meet again on Wednesday.
They are members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union or the Transport and General Workers’ Union or the National Union of Vehicle Builders. With average weekly wages of £16, the inspectors, through a suggested new, more simplified wage structure, are seeking weekly increases of between a few shillings and a 15s. maximum.
A spokesman for the firm said: “Production has been 500 cars a week. We have reached a peak selling period and this enforced stoppage will cause considerable damage. We are already having to break delivery dates to American buyers and others. These inspectors are pressing for a high rate of wages which the company are not able to concede, for we are paying in some cases above the average compared with other firms. We are just not able to meet their demands.”
A later statement by the firm said that after disagreement with the inspectors at works conference level on their pay demand the correct agreed procedure would have been for the inspectors to take their claim to local conference; if there was any disagreement there the matter should have gone to national conference at York. Instead, they took no action for three months and then raised the matter again through shop floor channels.
Inspectors’ strike stops production at Jaguar works
From our Special Correspondent
Car production at the Jaguar works in Coventry came to a standstill today as a result of a strike by the company’s 220 work inspectors. The management sent home the entire workforce of 3,500 production workers. They will be laid off “indefinately”. The inspectors claim that their patience has been exhausted by “abortive negotiations ” for a revision of grades. The basis of the trouble seems to be that the lower paid inspectors generally earn several pounds a week less than the piece rate production workers. The lowest paid inspector gets about £13 a week, but the average is nearer £16 a week.
The pay of piece rate workers varies greatly, but some are earning up to £20 a week. The regrading would mean that inspectors would get increases ranging from a few shillings a week to a maximum of 15s. A statement issued by the Jaguar management says that the company is unable to meet the inspectors claim for more pay because they are already getting as much as, and in some cases more, than similar employees in other car factories. The management complained that the inspectors representatives had not started negotiations since they first raised the matter of grading in November; and have ignored the procedure agreed with the unions for dealing with such disputes.