Archive : Triumph restart but car layoffs mount

By Alan Hamilton Labour Staff

Production at the Triumph car body plant in Liverpool is expected to restart today following the decision by 650 workers to end their 10 day strike over the sacking of two men. As a result of the strike 3000 men in Liverpool and 2,500 at Triumph’s Coventry plant have been laid off; production of the new Dolomite car has been at a standstill, as supplies of bodies from Liverpool to Coventry have dried up.

Some 2,000 vehicles have been lost at a cost of £2.5m. At a meeting with management on Friday, shop stewards hammered out a peace formula which included reinstatement of the two men who had been sacked for refusing to move to new jobs under a labour mobility agreement. Both sides will meet again today to investigate the cause of the dispute.

As the 5,500 men made idle by the Triumph dispute return to work today, another 3,200 will begin an indefinite lay-off at British Leyland’s Austin-Morris plant at Long- bridge, where 130 women sewing machinists have been on strike for a week, in support of a demand for higher piecework rates. The women have been told by British Leyland that if they agree to give up piecework in favour of a standard day rate, they will be made an offer well in excess of their claim, but so far they have refused.

Production continued normally despite the strike last week, but supplies of interior trim have now run out. Some two-thirds of all Mini production will stop today and all production of the 1800 saloon will also cease. The plant will lose 850 cars a day. The Longbridge dispute will bring the total of British Leyland workers idle today to over 6,000. At the Bathgate plant in Scotland a strike by 3,000 shop floor workers enters its second week with no prospect of peace.

Management and shop stewards have not met to discuss the claim for a substantial wage increase since the stewards rejected a £2 a week offer and called the strike.

Jaguar production at Coventry is expected to be back to normal today following the end of a two- week strike by 108 engine assemblers, which caused the lay-off of a further 2,500 men. This stoppage meant that last week the number of British Leyland workers on strike or laid off was approaching 8,000.

There is trouble, too, at Rover, where an overtime ban is in operation at five engine and transmission plants; the men there staged a one-day stoppage last Friday and propose to do the same this Friday, in protest at attempts to replace the piecework system with standard day rates.

Keith Adams

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