Strike Revolt Flops As Car Workers Stay Home
The great anti-strike protest turned into a major flop yesterday. Thousands of engineering workers who had threatened to defy union leaders stayed at home instead.
Extra pickets put on duty to crush the revolt found themselves with nothing to do. For the shopfloor workers who had led the rebellion against the engineering union’s two day national pay strike it was a massive disaster. The most humiliating turn out was at British Leyland’s giant Longbridge factory in Birmingham . Only 100 of the 18,000 workforce turned up at a meeting to protest against the strike.
And when they decided to march past pickets into the factory the numbers rapidly dwindled to fifty. There was one angry scuffle between a picket and a protester as the marchers went through at the factory gates. Anti-strike leader Mike Savage said: “I am very disappointed. I think people were scared of the pickets. They didn’t want any hassle so they stayed away .”
The anti-strike rebels’ biggest victory came at Cowley, Oxford, where 8,000 Leyland workers turned up for work. British Leyland sold fever than one in five of the 210,000 new cars bought in Britain last month.