By R. W. Shakespeare
The crippling three week-long strike by 80 men at British Leyland’s Austin-Morris car plant at Cowley, which caused the lay-off of 12,000 other workers and production losses of around £20m, is over. Yesterday the 80 striking plant attendants voted to accept terms negotiated by their unions and to return to work at once.
The stoppage followed a demand by the attendants-the men who operate switches controlling the car assembly lines ,that their jobs should be upgraded to give them more pay. They have now accepted a management proposal to review their pay structure when next year’s plant-wide pay review takes place, or earlier if the Government’s prices and incomes legislation permits. The unions have been forced to accept that the attendants can have no more money immediately because all Cowley workers recently got the maximum £1, plus 4 per cent, allowed under Phase Two.
British Leyland has, however, promised the attendants that when their pay structure is reviewed they will get an extra 2p an hour. But this will be subject to a re-examination of their working arrangements. Last night a British Leyland spokesman said the 12,000 laid off car assembly and body shop workers will be recalled as their normal shifts become due. Full production will probably be resumed “within a day or two”.