By David Felton Labour Reporter
Engineering Union’ shop stewards at British Leyland’s factory at Longbridge will mount a strong campaign this morning in an attempt to persuade the workers to strike in support of Mr Derek Robinson, the dismissed communist union convener. The campaign will be carried out against a background of growing disaffection at the strike among the 8,000 members of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Worker’s at the plant in Birmingham.
BL management is expected to be active in making sure that workers who oppose the strike make their views known. The 270 stewards have until Wednesday night to win support for the strike. They have then to report back to the unions Birmingham West district committee, which, will the decide whether to sanction the strike.
There are indications that there is little support for a strike to win the re-instatement of Mr Robinson. A senior union official said last night: “I would not think that there is any measurable degree of enthusiasm for action in support of Robinson in the plant now. On Thursday I would have said that it was anybody’s race; but now I shall be very surprised if the lads decide to march.”
The district committee has the power to call the strike after an instruction from the union’s executive council to lay before the membership an earlier recommendation to strike to secure Mr Robinson’s reinstatement. That instruction leaves it open for the committee to decide to not to call a strike if it feels there is little support at Longbridge.
The Robinson issue could be clouded by the announcement tomorrow afternoon by the Electoral Reform Society of the result of a ballot by the entire BL manual workforce on the company’s single figure pay offer. It was being predicted last night by company and union sources that the result will be close. No one was. prepared to forecast what influence the ballot result might have on Wednesday nights decision. The ballot organized through the unions, has been financed by BL.
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