In the Midlands, the car industry was the worst affected, with 2,600 workers at the Austin factory at Longbridge, Birmingham, made idle. They had to be laid off because British Road Services vehicles were not delivering car bodies from Castle Bromwich. A British Leyland spokesman at Longbridge said the hold up had cost a loss of production of 1,750 cars valued at Â£1,200,000, 50 per cent of them for export.
OUTLOOK SUNNIER SAYS STOKES
By Barry Devney
The nations economic prospects are “pretty good,” Sir Donald Stokes, head of Britain’s biggest car combine, said yesterday. But he warned that stricter discipline in factories was vital if the country was to survive, as a major industrial power.
And he added: “Some sections of our trade union movement seem bent on driving us to national suicide.”
Sir Donald, boss of the British Leyland Motor Corporation, was speaking at the Eastbourne, Sussex, conference of the Road Haulage Association. His optimism came as a surprise to many of his audience. His Longbridge, Birmingham works has been brought to a halt this week by an unofficial strike of lorry drivers. And the motor industry’s supply of components is being strangled by strikes that shows no sign of ending.
Sir Donald himself admitted: “Anybody who wants to look on the dark side can certainly find plenty of supporting evidence.”
But he insisted: “There is a growing willingness to tackle our problems in all sections of the community. We should achieve a faster rate of national economic growth over the next five years. And devaluatlon has made a tremendous impact on the opportunities now open to our exporting industries.”
For these three reasons he felt that “the economic clouds do seem to be breaking a little,”
He warned, however, that if the long awaited British economic miracle was to be achieved, “we have got to have greater regard for the sanctity of freely negotiated collective agreements.”
Sir Donald Attacks Suicide Motor Strikes
By Bryn Jones
British Leyland boss Sir Donald Stokes warned yesterday that some trade unionists seemed determined to drive Britain to national suicide. As the car crisis worsened, Sir Donald said: “If we are going to survive as a major industrial power, we have got to achieve greater industrial discipline.”
Sir Donald told the Road Haulage Association’s annual conference at Eastbourne that Britain’s economic clouds were beginning to break. But the economic miracle would only be achieved if agreements negotiated between unions and employers were honoured — and unofficial strikes eliminated. Last night there was no sign of a break in the strikes that threaten the
jobs of thousands of car workers.