Two unions decided last night to summon their members among the 51 loaders and truck drivers at the British Motor Corporation’s tractor and transmission plant in Birmingham, who are on unofficial strike, to a meeting this morning.
By then, it is expected, more than 22,000 B.M.C. workers will have been laid off and all car production at the Austin works will have stopped. Mr J. L. Jones. Midland regional secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, said that his union and the Municipal and General Workers’ Union had called the meeting. Earlier the strikers bad voted “by a substantial majority” to stay out and to meet again to-morrow. The men rejected an instruction from the T.G.W.U. to return to work and ignored advice from the executive committee of shop stewards at the factory to go back.
Mr L. Kingscott, shop steward convenor at the factory, said the men considered their claim was modest and reasonable and they would return to work for about 10s. a week increase.
He said that as production had increased during the past year other workers had received increases in the factory, some without even applying for them, but the management had said they were not prepared to pay any more to the internal transport men. B.M.C. say that the strike is unconstitutional since the claim has not gone beyond the first stage of official negotiating procedure and that the men must return to work before any discussions can be held.
A B.M.C. official said last night that because of the strike more than 22,000 workers at B.M.C. factories at Birmingham, Oxford, and Coventry would be laid off by this morning. If the strike continued, production of the Morris Oxford at Cowley would stop tomorrow and a further 600 to 700 workers would be laid off.