Archive : Two Strikes May Throw 14,000 Idle

An unofficial strike of 600 vehicle builders that broke out yesterday at the Birmingham factory of Mulliners, Ltd., will make 10,000 workers idle at the Standard Motor Company’s works at Coventry today, a Standards official stated.

Production at Jaguar Cars, Coventry, is expected to come to a standstill today because of a stoppage by 64 men employed on the final finish line. The firm had to send home 2,000 employees yesterday and the other 2,000 workers are expected to be laid off today.

Mulliners, a subsidiary of Standards, make bodies for the TR3 sports car and commercial vehicles, and components for the Triumph Herald. The men’s unanimous decision to strike brought production to a standstill causing another 250 men to be laid off; a further 700 will be sent home today. The Standards spokesman said that the Mulliners dispute was over the terms of employment at a new branch factory of Mulliners at Coventrv. This factory employs 80 workers at present, but by early next year the labour force is expected to rise to nearly 1,000 to produce bodies for the Vanguard car.

MOBILITY OF LABOUR
The Standards official said: “The terms and conditions were properly negotiated with Coventry officials of six trade unions. Under the agreement workers will receive top rates of pay in return for flexibility and mobility of labour in the departments. We shall expect to be able to switch men to other jobs in the event of absenteeism, which is something new in the motor industry. Pay does not enter into this issue at all.”

A Birmingham official of the National Union of Vehicle Builders attributed the dispute to the fact that union representatives from Birmingham were excluded from the discussions at Coventry. Altogether 1,000 Standard men at Coventry were sent home yesterday, the firm’s spokesman said production would slow down today until it was at a standstill. The remaining 9,000 employees would be laid off progressively throughout the day.

FURTHER DEMAND
A spokesman for Jaguars said that after agreement on Monday on new piece work rates, men on the final finish line demanded a further increase which amounted to another 6d. an hour. They claimed that this would place them on the same basis as similar workers in other Coventry car factories. The management promised to investigate this claim next week, but the 64 men now on strike did not wait. The strikers are members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders’ and the Transport and General Workers’ Union.

Keith Adams
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