Archive : Strikes affect three British Leyland plants

By CLIFFORD WEBB, Midland Industrial Correspondent

Production at three of British Leyland’s biggest car plants was seriously affected by strikes last night. All Mini output was at a standstill with 1,100 assembly workers laid off. Austin Maxi production was cut by a go slow at the adjoining Pressed Steel Fisher car body plant at Cowley, and Standard Triumph, Coventry, will be laying off men tomorrow unless a week old delivery drivers’ dispute is called off.

Men in the Mini body assembly shop at Longbridge walked out in support of a piece work claim. Their action brought the line to a halt. About 1,100 men on the night shift and yesterday’s day shift were progressively paid off. Normal production was resumed at Standard Triumph, Coventry, yesterday, after the week long stoppage over who should tighten two screws in a new dashboard. But another dispute now threatens to bring the whole plant to a close before the end of the week.

The delivery drivers’ dispute. which has prevented any cars leaving the factory for over a week, is now causing serious storage problems. All available space, including factory roads and playing fields. has been taken up. Last night a British Leyland spokesman said: “The position is very serious. We are reviewing production plans daily and unless cars begin moving out almost immediately we could begin laying men off on Wednesday’s night shift.”

Drivers at the big Oxford depot of British Road Services, which ferries car bodies from P.S.F.. Cowley, to British Leyland and Rootes assembly plants and also deliver completed vehicles, last night threatened to impose sanctions in support of 50 maintenance fitters who have been on strike since last Wednesday.

A week-old go-slow by 350 P.S.F. workers has already reduced body supplies of the new Austin Maxi to the adjoining British Leyland assembly plant at Cowley.

Keith Adams

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