By R. W. Shakespeare
Agreement has been reached between the British Leyland Cars management and unions on the most advanced plans so far for worker participation and control in British industry. Shopfloor and union representatives of about 10,000 workers will be directly involved in all decision making processes, covering both broad policy and day-to-day operating arrangements, from departtnental, through plant and up to company level.
At this stage, however, the plans stop short of the appointment of worker directors to the main hoard, although this is expected to follow in due course: Announcement of the agreement on “all major points of substance and most of the details of an employee participation scheme ” came last night at the close of three more days of negotiations between a 10- man team of executives from the newly constituted British Leyland Cars and a 32-strong committee of shop stewards and union officials from all the car company’s plants.
According to the statement, both sides have agreed to give urgent consideration to a few matters of detail still outstanding and it is hoped to get a final agreement shortly on all counts. It is clear from the statement that the plans, developed from the Ryder report will go ahead, at first for a 12-month trial period. They could well he in operation before the end of the year. Separate negotiations are to he held on similar proposals for British Leyland bus and truck factories.
Layoffs Warning: British Leyland repeated its warnings last night that thousands of workers in the Rover-Triumph car plants were facing lay-offs within the next day or two. This was because of a continuing strike by drivers employed by a transporter firm, James Car Deliveries, which has the contracts to move completed cars from the Rover-Triumph plants. The drivers are protesting about a decision by James to make 18 men redundant.
Meanwhile, the car plants are having to stockpile completed vehicles which cannot be sent out to the retailers, or exported, and last night a company spokesman said: “We are now running very short of storage space.”