Archive : Workers at Cowley reject Trotskyist Mr Thornett

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

By Raymond Perman Labour Staff

Workers at British Leyland’s Austin-Morris car assembly plant at Cowley, voting in a secret ballot for the first time, have rejected Mr Alan Thornett, a member of the Trotskyist Workers’ Revolutionary Party, as their senior shop steward.

Mr Thornett was accused by the management of stirring up industrial unrest in the plant and the withdrawal of his credentials as deputy senior shop steward and steward for the transport drivers caused an 18-day unofficial strike by 150 drivers, which made 12,500 men idle.

The secret ballot, held in the factory, was the result of an internal inquiry by .the Trans- port and General Workers’ Union. It cleared Mr Thornett of the management’s accusations, but criticized Mr Bob Fryer, senior shop steward. In the voting results, declared yesterday, Mr Thornett and Mr Fryer were beaten by Mr Reg Parsons, a former left-winger who describes himself as a moderate.

The voting was: Mr Parsons, 1,881 (about 60 per cent); Mr Fryer, 824 (26 per cent); Mr Thornett, 407 (13 per cent) and bottom of the poll. About 5,000 men were eligible to vote, but some could not do so because they could not produce their union cards. Before the poll, senior and deputy senior shop stewards were elected by vote of the stewards.

The shop-floor workers took no direct part. British Leyland told the union yesterday that it would accept Mr Thornett as steward of the transport drivers.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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