By Clifford Webb, Midland industrial Correspondent
SU Carburetter, of Birmingham, the British Leyland subsidiary which supplies all the group’s car factories with carburetters and fuel pumps, was closed last night by a strike over a works Christmas party. One hundred women pump assemblers walked out during the day in protest at the management’s decision to withhold two days’ holiday pay.
Management said they stopped work to hold a party at 10.45 am instead of 12.30 pm on the last working day before Christmas. About 600 of the remaining 730 employees either walked out in sympathy or were laid off. The company had told the union they were prepared to negotiate on the amount of holiday pay to be docked, but there must be some loss of pay There was no immediate threat to car production because SU normally maintain sufficient stocks for a month.
Mr Joe Ireland, Transport & General Workers Union convener at SU, yesterday accused the company of trying to provoke a “showdown” with the union. He said the strikers were prepared to stay out indefinitely. Union-management negotiations broke down yesterday when union officials insisted that the women be paid in full.