By ALEX HENDRY and R. W. SHAKESPEARE
British Leyland was warned last night that there was no hope of peace at its five strike bound Lancashire factories if it insisted that there could be no negotiations until the 8,500 strikers returned to work. The warning came from Arthur Hearsey, executive council man of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers, soon after the union’s executive had voted unanimously to declare the strike official. Mr Hearsey and three other members of the seven-man executive had arrived back in Britain only a few hours earlier after a 26-hour flight from Japan.
“For Leyland to say it is not going to talk until there is a return to work will prolong an industrial war of attrition”, said Mr Hearsey. With Hugh Scanlon, president of the union. he will today go to the Department of Employment and Productivity where Andy Kerr. a chief conciliation officer, will try to bring the two sides in the dispute together.
One side-effect of the Lancashire strike is that in the Midlands about 3000 employees at the Jaguar factories have been laid off. And at Rootes Motors another 5.000 are laid off due to the effects of the Pressed Steel Fisher dispute at Cowley. Following the intervention of Victor Feather, acting general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, the 89 striking pipefitters at Pressed Steel Fisher have resumed work but it will be some days before car assembly lines are working normally again. The three-man T.U.C. disputes committee will be meeting tomorrow morning to adjudicate on the dispute over who should maintain valves on welding equipment, in which four unions are involved. A new dispute hit the motor in- dustry yesterday.
Eleven production crane drivers at Alvis Ltd, where military and armoured fighting vehicles are made. staged a one day unofficial stoppage over a dispute. The men are key workers who move components about the plant. When several hundred other employees had to be laid off, the rest of the labour force, totalling about 2,000, walked out.