By CLIFFORD WEBB, Midland Industrial Correspondent
Labour troubles at British Leyland plants in Coventry brought Standard-Triumph production to a standstill yesterday and halted assembly of Jaguar’s new XJ6 saloon. At Standard-Triumph 9,000 workers staged a one-day unofficial strike which cost the company 700 vehicles, half for export. The men have threatened to repeat their action every Monday until they secure a big rise in holiday pay.
A company spokesman said the recently-signed national agreement provided for longer and higher-paid holidays, with a skilled fitter receiving from £72 to £106 over the next three years for a three-week holiday. British Leyland was “shocked and dismayed “, he said, ” because our employees should know that holidays and holiday pay are negotiated and entirely agreed by the unions and the Engineering Employers Federation at national level “.
Holiday rates paid at Standard-Triumph apply to the whole of the British Leyland group. It is widely believed the powerful but unofficial British Leyland Combined Trade Union Committee, which claims to represent every factory in the group, is using Standard- Triumph as a test case. Eddie McGarry. a senior shop steward, is joint chairman of the unofficial body.
Jaguar yesterday laid off 300 assembly workers and stopped production of its best-selling XJ6 until tonight because of a shortage of components from the Radford plant. Eighty men on unofficial strike since Friday for more pay at Lucas’s gas turbine plant at Acocks Green, Birmingham voted yesterday to stay out. They will meet again on Friday.
More than 9,000 key workers closed down all Standard Triumph plants in Coventry by staging a one-day token strike.
The shop stewards who organised the stoppage said that they were determined to call the men out every Monday until they won new holiday pay terms.
Also in Coventry yesterday, Jaguar were forced to close down the assembly lines of their export-winning XJ6 saloon, because a wildcat strike at another pant last week had caused a shortage of components.