By R. W. Shakespeare Northern Industrial Correspondent
A strike over the sacking of two men alleged to have been fighting on the shop floor stopped car engine production at British Leyland’s Longbridge plant, Birmingham, yesterday and made nearly 3,000 workers idle. The trouble began on the night shift on Thursday when the 1,300 workers making engines for Mini, Marina and Allegro cars walked out demanding the reinstatement of a toolsetter and a labourer dismissed for “industrial misconduct”.
Yesterday toolroom workers on the day shift joined the stoppage and another 1,500 production workers had to be sent home. Last night talks between shop stewards and management were still in progress. A company spokesman said: “Finished car production is not yet affected because the assembly lines are working from existing stocks of engines”.
Talks also started yesterday between union leaders and management in a fresh attempt to resolve the three-week strike by 450 clerical workers at British Leyland’s truck and tractor factory at Bathgate, Scotland. This stoppage over a pay dispute has halted production and nearly 5,000 workers are laid off.