Archive : Strike Threat To New BMC Model


Production of the British Motor Corporation’s new small cars, the Austin seven and the Morris Mini-Minor, is threatened by a strike of 35 workers at their tractor and transmission works at Ward End, Birmingham, which broke out today within a few hours of the official announcement of the new models.

An official of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, to which the men belong said that if the dispute was not settled within three days it would affect the production line at Longbridge. There was a prospect, however, that the men could be persuaded to return to work tomorrow so that discussions on their wages claim could be resumed.

The men involved in the dispute-the fifteenth unofficial stoppage reported at the corporation’s factories this year-produce the differential unit for the unconventional front-wheel drive cars. They are dissatisfied with provisional hourly wage rates fixed for a three months’ trial period while final piecework rates for the new models are being calculated.

The union official said that the men were at present being paid 6s. an hour for a 44- hour week but considered that these earnings were too low. Any interruption to production of the new cars would be a serious blow to the B.M.C., who have spent more than £10m. on plant and buildings for the new models at Longbridge and Cowley.

The initial production target for the two versions of this revolutionary model is 3,000 a week, divided evenly between the Birmingham and Cowley factories. Eventually output will be expanded to 4,000 a week. The first public reaction to the new cars appears to justify the manufacturers’ optimistic forecasts. Dealers who had queues of prospective customers outside their premises before they opened their doors for business today said that they were unable at present to quote delivery dates.

BMC’s New Small Cars In Demand

The British Motor Corporations head offices at Birmingham yesterday received orders and inquiries from all over Europe and Britain for the new Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor cars .
A company executive said there had been phenomenal response to the ‘twins’.

‘I have never known anything like it ‘ , he added .
‘Despite the success of our other models , this is the biggest thing we have ever known . The telephone has not stopped ringing all day with orders , inquiries and congratulations from distributors , agents and members of the public all over Europe and the British Isles .”

He would not commit himself on delivery dates .

Rush For £500 Baby Cars

A British Motor Corporation spokesman said last
night: “Our distributors are flabbergasted at the reception these cars have had from the public. The demand has gone beyond even our expectations. Orders are flooding in—both at home and abroad.”

Keith Adams

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