Ian Nicholls, AROnline’s historian-in-residence, follows up his excellent rundown of the British Motor Holdings story with a five-part account of the British Leyland years from 1974 to 1977.
Here, in the fourth part, we see the whole operation begin to become irreversibly unstitched.
PART FOUR : MELTDOWN
British Leyland’s self-destruction continued into 1977. At first the main trouble stemmed from the Castle Bromwich body plant, which had a dire productivity record. A strike there soon crippled production at Leyland Cars. On 11 February 1977 Eric Varley (above), the Secretary of State for Industry, went to a strike-affected Longbridge to tell workers of the urgent need for fewer strikes and more cars.
He found himself the focus of a mass demonstration against any extension of the Government’s pay restraint policy, which was intended to reduce inflation. About 4000 workers downed tools at 9.30am and marched behind banners to meet him. It was a move carefully organized and timed by shop stewards, some with loud hailers.
Varley’s convoy, including a police escort, slipped into the huge factory complex by a side entrance. The stewards had expected that, and marshalled the demonstrators across the entrance to the exhibition hall, where the minister was to be in the chair at a meeting with shop stewards. He was greeted with roars of ‘No more restrictions on pay.’
Varley tells it like it is
Jack Jones, of the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), and Hugh Scanlon, of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (AUEW), walked through the good-humoured crowd, acknowledging friends with smiles and whispered conversation. Inside, the hall the scene was much more orderly. About 600 Shop Stewards and managers from most of Leyland Cars’ 36 plants were gathered for an open discussion with Varley, Alex Park, Chief Executive of British Leyland, Derek Whittaker, Managing Director of Leyland Cars, Jones and Scanlon, all members of the Tripartite Committee for the Motor Industry – that was the organization set up by Varley in 1976 to enable union leaders and motor industry chiefs to maintain regular contact with each other.
Varley spelt out the difficulties facing the motor industry. He said the Tripartite Committee was seeking to increase car exports this year by a fifth. To achieve that, production had to be lifted from 1.3 million cars to 1.5 million The Committee also wanted productivity to improve from the present six to seven cars a man-year to the 12 cars regularly produced by continental competitors.
Whittaker set out details of the latest crisis facing Leyland Cars with so many of its factories shut by strikes and dealers crying out for supplies. However, when questions were invited, it was obvious that the shop stewards had not come to be lectured. One after another they beat the drum for a return to free collective bargaining in August 1977 as the answer to British Leyland’s ailments.
There are many enemies of British Leyland who want to see it fail, and it is up to all of us in the Government and trade unions to prove them wrong.” – Eric Varley, Secretary of State for Industry
They were taken aback when Scanlon said they were being naive to suggest, as many had, that the present outbreak of strikes was caused entirely by unrest over the pay policy. The Committee would be wasting its time if it had come to Longbridge only to hear complaints about the national pay policy.
When finally the meeting got down to discussing British Leyland’s troubles, Shop Stewards made some harsh comments on the shortcomings of management. They also urged the company to introduce an incentive scheme covering up to a quarter of the workers wage packets. They suggested that that would provide the stimulus to lift production, which has fallen off since the traditional Midlands piecework system was replaced by standard day work.
Asked who the enemies were, Varley quoted speeches by Conservative politicians urging that British Leyland should be broken up and the unprofitable parts sold off. Unfortunately for Varley, the ensuing events and those in the weeks ahead would demonstrate that many within British Leyland were in denial about the company’s problems and were immune to the threat posed by rival manufacturers.
Industrial action takes over
The Castle Bromwich strike had put 25,000 British Leyland workers out of work. The strikers returned on 21 February 1977, by which time the 6000 Leyland Cars tool makers had struck.
Through a breakaway group of Shop Stewards, who were recognised neither by the powerful British Leyland (Motor Corporation Combined) Trade Union Committee (BLTUC) nor the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers to which they belonged, the tool-room men were demanding separate negotiating rights and restoration of skilled differentials which they insisted had been seriously eroded. The toolmakers’ stoppage meant that breakdowns could not be rectified.
Derek Whittaker said that 1977 was crucial. ‘This year we are approaching the end of our last opportunity to show what we can do in marketing our products aggressively in Britain – let alone in Europe.
‘The simple truth is that 1977 is the crucial year for Leyland Cars and the survival of the British motor industry as we know it. Failure meant plant closures and “drastically reduced” employment prospects.’ – Derek Whittaker, Managing Director of Leyland Cars
Whittaker’s statement made no attempt to disguise the fact that Leyland Cars was failing to meet the requirements it undertook as part of the re-organization plans agreed with the Government. He said, that in order to match up to these plans, for every £1m provided by the National Enterprise Board, British Leyland’s car manufacturing had to find a further £1.5m out of profits.
‘So far,’ Whittaker reported, ‘we have not made any.’ Workers were warned that their industry was in danger of ‘forfeiting its birthright.’ Whittaker said the company was faced with an increasing challenge from cars made abroad.
Impending collapse – victory for the enemy
While the toolmakers were out there were strikes involving paint shop men at Triumph Canley, maintenance engineers at Cowley and testers at Longbridge. Eric Varley, confined to bed with ‘flu, was being kept up to date with the mounting crisis. His Under-Minister, Gerald Kaufman, said in Coventry on 25 February that a collapse of British Leyland would be a victory for its ‘political and commercial enemies.’
He said they were longing for the failure of this ‘crucial venture of public ownership, linked with worker participation.’
A senior Government official told the Daily Mirror that British Leyland had now reached the point of no return. ‘Either we can get an effective working relationship which will stick and which will produce the cars at competitive prices or there will be some surgery. There is no other choice.’
A recovered Eric Varley told the House of Commons on 2 March 1977: ‘I want all workers at Leyland, including those on unofficial strike today, to be quite clear that their own future employment and the future of their company is now in their hands. They can kill it or they can save it. They will have no one else to blame or to thank.’
Derek Robinson said in response: ‘We shall not be accepting any threats from the Government… If the Government and Mr Varley think this sort of threat is going to work then let me tell them now they have another think coming. We are sick and tired of threats and sabre rattling. We are not going to listen to this sort of blackmail. And if that means using our industrial strength to safeguard our jobs then we are prepared to take them on.
‘The only way the Government can get industrial peace within a month throughout Leyland is to scrap Phase Two of the Social Contract now. British Leyland’s management must be allowed to sit down across the table from the trade unions to discuss a rational wages structure.’
That damaging toolmakers’ strike
Robinson’s blistering reaction contrasted with that of his Joint Chairman, Eddie McGarry, Convener at Leyland Cars’ Triumph works in Coventry. McGarry appealed to the 3000 striking toolmakers to call off their strike for the sake of all the workforce. He said: ‘If the company were to give in to the toolmakers’ claim it would open the floodgates to many similar claims from other areas.’
Hugh Scanlon of the AUEW met the striking toolmakers at Birmingham Town Hall. He was greeted with jeers. He told them: ‘Nobody wants to see a publicly-owned British motor manufacturer go to the wall, but that is what could happen. Do you appreciate the enormity of the danger? Thousands of jobs could be lost as a result of continuing a strike which you cannot win.’
The final blow came when he asked: ‘Is it really worth it, brothers, to carry on?’ The answering roar of ‘Yes’ could be heard above the city centre traffic outside. When a vote was taken, only 11 hands were raised in support of a return to work.
David Andrews, the Managing Director of British Leyland International, said at the Geneva Motor Show that the industrial disputes in Britain had undone two years work of re-establishing confidence and credibility in the company abroad. Customers did not distinguish between the situation in the car group, where 90 per cent of lost time occurred, and other parts of the company. He gave the example of a man who had rung up to cancel an order worth £1m for 100 bus chassis.
After a month on strike the toolmakers returned to work and, although the damage to British Leyland was terminal, the pretence that the company could remain a world force continued.
British Leyland’s future under new scrutiny
Meanwhile, both the Government and the National Enterprise Board looked at future options for British Leyland and ordered the company to review its programme. A substantial reduction in the labour force at the Longbridge factory in Birmingham, accompanied by a one third cutback in production of the new £200m Mini/ADO88 development (above), was one of the proposals the company was studying in the Government-enforced re-appraisal of its operations.
Sources within the area reported that up to a fifth of the 19,000 manual workers at Longbridge could lose their jobs if the National Enterprise Board (NEB) and Varley, the Secretary of State for Industry, accepted the proposal as an alternative to dropping the Mini/ADO88 project altogether. Existing plans called for a few thousand new Minis/ADO88s to be built in 1979 (its first year) rising to 170,000 in 1980, 230,000 in 1981 and reaching a peak of 300,000 in 1985. The proposed compromise would reduce all those targets but achieve a maximum of 200,000 well before 1985.
As all those figures related to planned capacity, which was seldom achieved in British car factories, actual output would be even lower. Longbridge already had, on paper at least, capacity for 500,000 cars a year. The best it had ever achieved was 376,781 in 1964/65, when the ADO16 was at the height of its popularity. The Allegro had been a disappointment and that had left Leyland Cars with considerable spare capacity. The Allegro’s poor sales performance, as much as the need to clear the decks for the new Mini/ADO88, explained why plans called for production of this model to be switched to the much smaller assembly plant at Seneffe, in Belgium.
Its removal would leave Longbridge heavily over-manned, even if Varley decided to take a risk and go for the 300,000 target. It was principally for that reason that Derek Whittaker faced several confrontations at Longbridge to obtain a full commitment from the labour force for substantially higher productivity and more job mobility. However, the risk factor involved in the compromise would be lower and therefore have a smaller impact on the rest of the group if it ran into trouble.
In 1976, Longbridge produced about 160,000 Minis, half of which went to overseas markets, mainly Europe. It was hoped that with continuing support for an 18-year-old model, Leyland Cars would be able to sell up to 200,000 new Mini/ADO88s without too much trouble. However, opponents of the compromise – and there were many within the company, including Whittaker and Alex Park – suggested that it would inevitably lead to reduced profit margins.
The Leyland fight-back
‘If we lower our sights on the new Mini we shall be building an import stopper that may help the balance of payments but do nothing for our profitability,’ was how one British Leyland manager put it.
There were four proposals by Leyland Cars:
- Existing business plan set out in Lord Ryder’s report.
- Closure of volume car business to concentrate on Jaguars, Rovers and the sports car range.
- Withdrawal from new Mini/ADO88 venture to concentrate on new medium car.
- Retaining new Mini/ADO88 and reducing Leyland Cars’ range to one new car based on the Austin Allegro.
The most far-reaching of proposals involved more than 60,000 job losses out of Leyland Cars 130,000 labour force and four major British plants would be closed. The review study named the threatened plants as Longbridge, Cowley, Castle Bromwich near Birmingham and Liverpool, as well as the Belgian assembly plant at Seneffe. These plants employed more than 60,000 workers.
Their closure would wipe out Leyland Cars entire volume car operations leaving it dependent on the much smaller up-market Jaguar, Rover, Triumph and MG cars.
The study was understood to contain a unanimous recommendation from British Leyland’s Board that the proposed £200m project to build a new Mini/ADO88 should be retained with minor cost saving modifications. It also set out a number of choices ranging from a switch from the new Mini/ADO88 in favour of the proposed LC10 medium saloon, to the complete abandonment of the Mini/ADO88 project and the closure of assembly operations at Longbridge and Cowley.
The British Leyland review study contained every alternative to the existing business plan, however hare-brained, which had been advocated over the previous 10 years by frustrated minorities within the company, former management and the media.
The reference point for the whole report was the company’s ten-year plan based on the Ryder Report. That was subjected to an item-by-item review which questioned such things as projected dates for new model launches, work load for design, engineering and production facilities, the delaying effect of the three -months’ freeze on capital investment, the prospects for attracting urgently needed technical staff and, most important of all, the feasibility of the Mini/ADO88 project.
Metro vs Maestro?
The anti-Mini lobby had been much influenced by its late arrival, still some two and a half years away, and the fact that it was falling further behind because of the standstill on orders for plant and machinery. They insisted that this section of the market was already more than adequately covered by such well-established contenders as the Fiat 127, the Renault 5, the Volkswagen Polo and, more recently, Ford’s impressive new Fiesta.
The month-long investigation produced two developments, which, according to the recommendations now before Lord Ryder, indicated that far from being weakened, the case for the new Mini/ADO88 had become stronger. It was no secret that Leyland Cars used the retail price of the Ford Fiesta as its yardstick in forecasting the profitability of the new Mini/ADO88.
At that time the Fiesta was still on the secret list. It had since been launched at an appreciably higher price than Leyland Cars used in its calculations. The rising cost of petrol and the growing demand for energy conservation were seen as strong plus factors for a new small car.
The argument for closing Austin Morris
The first alternative to the existing business plan was conceived as the most profitable approach. By general consensus, this was the closure of the entire volume car operation to enable Leyland Cars to concentrate all its resources on meeting the unsatisfied worldwide demand for Jaguar, Triumph, Rover and MGs.
It would call for the closure of a large part of Cowley, almost the whole of Longbridge, the troubled Castle Bromwich paint plant, the assembly plant at Seneffe in Belgium and Triumph Liverpool. The latter was not part of the old Austin Morris empire, which still constituted British Leyland’s volume car operation, but, according to information given to Shop Stewards, was included because of its poor performance over the years. At a stroke of the pen this would dispose of more than 60,000 jobs, nearly half Leyland Cars’ entire labour force. The effect would be catastrophic not only for whole communities in the traditional car centres of the West Midlands but also for the hundreds of component manufacturers supplying Leyland Cars.
However, the crunch apparently came when investigators studied the potential of the surviving specialist car factories. To their surprise the figures indicated a lower return on capital employed than for the ‘axed’ volume car plants. What is more, they also suffered from more disruptive strikes. The comparison did not end there. The specialist car factories had not made anything like the improvement in productivity achieved over the previous two and a half years by the Austin Morris factories.
In May 1977, Leyland Cars management told senior Shop Steward members of the Joint Management Council that this improvement in productivity was enabling them to meet their target of 20,000 cars a week with 16,000 fewer employees than would have been required to achieve the same output in January 1975. A large problem for the ‘specialist cars only’ scheme would be financing the next generation of engines and gearboxes for new models.
The development and tooling for these expensive components, already well under way, was based on their use in a much wider range of cars. However, it was the effect on Leyland Cars already worried 2800 distributors and dealers, which seemed to clinch the case against this course. The number of desertions already taking place would become a flood if the network lost the volume provided by the Austin Morris range.
Alternative futures – dropping Mini or Maestro?
A less-frightening alternative proposed Leyland Cars withdrawal from the Mini market to concentrate on a slightly restricted but more profitable new medium car. At present this called for the three closely-related new models, LC10, 11 and 12. A compromise would drop LC12.
Another proposal retained the new Mini/ADO88 but replaced the whole of the LC range with a new car based on the mechanics of the Austin Allegro. This would be a much cheaper route and one often used by Ford, but there was a significant difference. Ford’s ‘re-skinning’ jobs had always been based on successful models. Not by any stretch of the imagination could the Allegro qualify as a successful model. It had in fact been a bitter disappointment, never coming within sight of even the most pessimistic targets. It could, of course, be said that the Allegro’s basic problem was its dumpy unattractive looks and it was now a well-sorted car in dire need of a facelift.
There were other proposals, but they were variants of the four listed here. For instance, one suggested that the ADO88 should be replaced by a hatchback, updated version of the 18-year-old Mini. British Leyland had passed on the chance of a hatchback Mini in 1968 and 1974.
Improved productivity the key
It was understood that the Joint Management Council, the top participation body, had sent a separate document to the NEB. It pledged full support of Shop Stewards and management for action to improve productivity, labour relations and wage negotiating machinery if the Government approved the new Mini/ADO88 and the LC10, 11 and 12, the planned new medium cars, the first of which was scheduled to appear in 1981. LC10 became the Austin Maestro and LC11 became the Austin Montego.
This review was delivered to the Government on 25 April 1977.
In British Leyland Mirror, the group’s newspaper, Alex Park wrote: ‘The vital thing is to plead our case. It is one thing to write the report, but persuading people to accept our recommendations is another and we have a lot of persuading to do.’
He said that better production in the previous few weeks since the disastrous toolmakers’ strike meant that Leyland Cars had reached the first of three milestones set by the Government. ‘We have got back to work. We have brought production to the required level (understood to be 20,000 cars a week) and now we must attain the second objective, that of sustaining production. If we can do that it is going to have an enormous effect. If output is not sustained then we have a big battle on our hands.’
He warned employees that Leyland Cars credibility was the main stumbling block. ‘We have to face the fact that our credibility is cracking at the seams. I appreciate the worry that so many employees have about the future but we must improve our credibility and everyone must play their part.’
On 26 May 1977, Eric Varley told the House of Commons: ‘During March and April British Leyland undertook a searching analysis of the courses open to them in future. The NEB reported to me on 5 May. The NEB concluded that if the conditions set out in the Ryder Report could be met, it would still be in British Leyland’s and the country’s interests for the company to remain a producer of volume and specialist cars.
‘The most vital of these conditions is a substantial improvement in industrial relations and productivity. The NEB considers that, even allowing for the achievements of recent weeks, progress so far has not been encouraging. There have been real advances in productivity, but these have been short-lived. The participation machinery holds out important prospects for progress, but it has not been accepted everywhere. I take the opportunity of urging all in British Leyland to make use of this machinery.
‘In the light of this, the NEB recommended that a final decision on the choice of strategy should be deferred to enable it to review British Leyland’s investment plans in greater detail and it will be reporting to me later in the year. The work undertaken in the review has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the NEB that the Mini replacement programme has a vital part to play in re-establishing British Leyland’s position in volume cars. If the company is to meet its launch date an immediate decision is required on this programme on which the company ordered a halt during the toolmakers’ dispute.
‘I have therefore authorised the NEB to allow work on this programme to be resumed as soon as it is satisfied that sufficient tangible progress is being made towards measures that will put industrial relations on a new basis. The Ryder Report envisaged that British Leyland would require a further tranche of £200m from public funds in mid-1977. The NEB now advises me that it expects British Leyland’s requirement in the summer to be considerably less than this, but it expects that further funds will be needed within the current financial year.
‘If progress is sufficient to justify an approach to the House for further advances, I shall accompany the request with a report by the NEB on performance to date. The House would be right to expect this as a basis on which it can form its judgment. It was this Government who saved Leyland in 1975 and safeguarded hundreds of thousands of jobs. We as a Government remain ready to play our part in backing British Leyland. But the massive contribution required from public funds can be justified only by linking funding to performance. We have some good recent evidence, and we shall be looking for more before returning to the House.’
Lord Ryder steps down, Turnbull approached
On 30 June 1977, it was announced that Lord Ryder would be standing down as Chairman of the National Enterprise Board on 1 August 1977. He would be succeeded by Leslie Murphy. Behind the scenes it was clear that the Government wanted change at British Leyland. Thus, in February 1977, during the toolmakers’ strike, Sir Peter Carey, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Industry, went to South Korea, presumably to see former Austin Morris Managing Director George Turnbull, then Vice-President of Hyundai, who resigned from BLMC in September 1973 after disagreements over policy.
Turnbull’s tenure with Hyundai had now ended and he was a tax exile living in a villa in Ibiza. On 12 July 1977, at the invitation of the British Government, George Turnbull visited London. The Government appeared to want to utilise Turnbull’s considerable experience, with speculation in the media that he would either rejoin British Leyland, join the National Enterprise Board or become a paid consultant to that body.
‘Instead of trying to shut the Japanese out, we should say “you are welcome, but if you want to sell more vehicles here, you must invest in setting up British-based assembly and manufacturing plants”.’ – George Turnbull, former Austin Morris Managing Director
George Turnbull had preliminary discussions with Leslie Murphy, the NEB’s Chairman-designate and then current Deputy Chairman. The talks centred on the possibility of Turnbull working for the NEB on an annual contract basis as a consultant initially concerned only with the British Leyland business. The discussions ruled out Turnbull joining the NEB on a permanent basis. Any suggestion that he might return to British Leyland itself was also firmly ruled out.
News of this meeting brought angry private reactions from senior management at British Leyland, who apparently resented another ‘master’ being added to the already complicated chain of command stretching from their Marylebone headquarters to the NEB, the Department of Industry and even the Cabinet Office. Faced with the possibility of resignations at a time when the group was just emerging from another crisis, Lord Ryder’s sudden resignation from the Chairmanship, Leslie Murphy delayed making a formal offer of a job.
However, all the speculation was ended on 25 July, when it was announced that George Turnbull would be joining the Iran National Company, in Teheran, as consultant to the Chairman and Managing Director on a two-year contract.
Turnbull said: ‘It would have been a different story if there had been more time, but I have still not received a formal offer from the NEB and could not delay my decision any longer. I telephoned Murphy yesterday to inform him of this. I spent a week in Iran and was very impressed with the production facilities there and their plans for substantial expansion and entry into world export markets.
‘Of course, the remuneration is very good, but that’s not the only consideration. Like South Korea, this is something I can get my teeth into without too many restrictions.’
He defended his decision not to return to Britain. ‘Of course, some people will say that, but I believe that is a short-sighted view. The world is becoming smaller all the time and, in an international business like the motor industry, you cannot shut yourself away from reality. For instance, I believe we are taking the wrong approach to Japanese motor imports. Instead of trying to shut them out, we should say “you are welcome, but if you want to sell more vehicles here, you must invest in setting up British-based assembly and manufacturing plants”.’
George Turnbull had, with that, just predicted the long-term future of the British motor industry.
Strikes continue to cripple British Leyland
Eric Varley revealed that in Leyland Cars in the first six months of 1977 there had been 304 disputes which had led to the loss of 9,086,000 man hours and a vehicle production loss of 117,394. After the toolmakers strike, Leyland Cars had made surprisingly good progress but, in August 1977, it found itself back on the ropes again as a six-week strike at components supplier Lucas, by 1200 of its own toolmakers, began to bite.
Leyland Cars created a special team to scour the globe for Lucas components in order to keep its UK production lines running. As the production lines halted one by one, Alex Park wrote in the group’s newspaper about the campaign now building up in his plants for wage increases of nearly 50 per cent at a time when the TUC had agreed with the government on a 10% limit.
Park said: ‘The Government owns 95 per cent of British Leyland. It is plain that we must follow Government pay-policy for as long as it exists, whatever the company and the unions might wish to do. We have no option, and it is important that we all understand this.’
At Longbridge there was a workers revolt and a planned strike over pay rapidly collapsed.
Workers vote against increase in SD1 production
In September 1977, 4000 men employed at the Rover plant at Solihull rejected company plans to introduce a night shift because they claimed night working disrupted family life and caused health problems. They rejected the management’s argument that night-shift working was essential if Leyland Cars was to exploit the tremendous demand for the European Car of the Year, the new Rover 3500.
Dealers were quoting delivery delays of between six months and a year for the model, which Leyland Cars executives had predicted would become British Leyland’s biggest export winner of all time. Shop Stewards at Solihull mounted a strong campaign against the re-introduction of night working after an interval of two years and circulated a pamphlet claiming that men working nights had to give half their lives to the company. Not only were the hours unsociable, but the disruption to normal routine led to family problems, digestive complaints and even affected men’s eyesight, the pamphlet said.
From a 21st century standpoint this was a laughable situation and demonstrated an ignorance of the economic reality confronting Britain, the need to pay its way in the world. The product was right, the demand was there, it was just the will to produce the product was not. The Solihull SD1 plant had been designed to produce 4000 cars per week at John Barber’s behest back in November 1972, now such a figure was the object of dreams.
The Lucas strike ended on 12 September 1977 after ten weeks. Although forgotten by history, the long Lucas strike had hit Leyland Cars hard. Ten of its 36 car factories were affected, with production of the Princess, Morris Marina, Austin Maxi, MG Midget, Triumph Spitfire, Dolomite and TR7 at a standstill because of a components famine and 17,500 of its workers had been laid off.
The return to work call came just in time to prevent production of the Mini and the Austin Allegro at the huge Longbridge in Birmingham grinding to a halt, just as it was being reported that in August 1977 imported cars had grabbed 51 per cent of the British market.
A Leyland Cars spokesman said: ‘Just because it is over, that does not mean we are out of the woods. We have lost a considerable number of vehicles when we could least afford it. The strike dealt us a double blow. It cut down our production and it allowed foreign cars to get a substantial share in the market while we had to sit back and watch, unable to do anything about it.
‘The strike came at a time when we were getting back in full swing with good production figures and recovering from the effects of our own toolroom dispute.’
Sir Richard Dobson resigns
During early October, British Leyland was hit by another spate of strikes and then part-time Chairman Sir Richard Dobson was forced to resign after allegedly making racist remarks at a private function, which was recorded and issued to the press.
Left-wing Labour MPs called for the new Chairman to be chosen by the workers or vetted for favourable socialist leanings. However, Leslie Murphy, the new head of the National Enterprise Board, already had a man in mind, a man the labour movement would come to loathe as he rode roughshod over the Shop Stewards’ movement in the years to come.
This was the man from Chloride, Michael Edwardes.