By R. W. Shakespeare
Production of Marina cars at British Leyland’s Cowley, Oxford, Plant was at a standstill yesterday for the fourth day running, with 1,200 assembly workers idle. The plant, which has a big backlog of orders, resulting from the three-day week, has lost output of some 3,000 cars worth more than £3m this week through a dispute over the use of industrial engineers to study ways of reducing manning scales and raising line speeds.
British Leyland says these changes are needed to make the plant more productive and to increase output from 27 to 30 cars an hour. The management says they would simply involve “a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay” for Cowley workers. The carmaker is trying to settle the dispute in discussions with the unions and more talks are due next week. However, it now seems most unlikely Cowley can resume Marina production after the weekend. If the shut-down continues, more workers may be laid off.
At another British Leyland plant, Triumph at Liverpool, a second day’s production of Toledo cars, together with body units for other Triumph models was lost yesterday. A group of 370 press shop operators are on strike there in a dispute between a shop steward and a supervisor.
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