By R. W. Shakespeare
More than 700 workers at Thornycroft, the British Leyland heavy transmissions plant at Basingstoke, who have been on a sit-in at the factory since August 15, decided yesterday to resume normal working immediately. The factory has been at a standstill since the sit-in began..
Production of heavy goods vehicles and buses at other BLMC factories in London, the Midlands, Lancashire and Scotland, has been badly disrupted as stocks of components have run out. The company also has a heavy backlog of orders for spare parts. The Basingstoke workers have been opposing the sale of the Thornycroft plant to the Eaton Corporation of Ohio.
They feared that large scale redundancies and the possibly complete closure of the factory would follow the American takeover. Eaton has other transmission production facilities in Britain. However, the’ sale will. go ahead, although it has now been delayed until January 14. It should have been completed at the beginning of October.
Top level negotiations between national union officials and the BLMC management have produced a series of guarantees and concessions Which the Basing. stoke ‘men accepted by. a majority of 2-1 yesterday. They include the re-employment of all 738 workers who have been sitting-in. The remainder of the original labour force of 1,100 have accepted voluntary redundancy.
BLMC has also guaranteed that it will place sufficient orders with Eaton after the takeover to ensure employment for the entire transmissions plant staff up to at least January 1976.