By Clifford Webb Midland Industrial Correspondent
Attempts to end the strike at Jaguar in Coventry, now in its third week, failed at a 31 hour union-management meeting last night. A joint statement said afterwards: “Following the exchange of views the parties were unable to find common ground for a return to work. The meeting terminated on the understanding that either side would be free to seek a further meeting “.
The strike involves 2,000 assembly men and trim track workers demanding an increase in their piecework earnings. The stoppage has resulted in 3,000 other employees being thrown idle and the company has said that the production loss is over £5m. The talks yesterday coincided with the company’s launching of the new luxury XJ12 saloon car.
The strike has crippled its introduction and the factory is “heavily guarded” by strike pickets preventing any of the 500 stockpiled vehicles of this model leaving the plant. Only three of the new models are on public show, two in London at the showrooms of the company and the British Leyland group. The other is an exhibit in Coventry’s Herbert Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition is a special anniversary one marking “50 years-Swallow to Jaguar”.
It is in honour of the Jaguar chief, the now retired Sir William Lyons. Jaguar have refused to offer any increase on piecework prices because they want to replace that scheme with wage payment based on measured day work under the overall British Leyland strategv of reforming pay structures.
Several times Jaguar workers have been warned about frequent strikes and other industrial action with reminders that unbroken production is the only basis for the company’s future prosperity which in turn guaranteed jobs. Shop stewards have admitted that the strike was timed to show militancy on the pay claim when the company was introducing a new model.
It is understood the men want about £3 a week extra on their piecework earnings.