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Call For Halt In BMC Expansion

12 October 1962

Call For Halt In B.M.C. Expansion

A call for a halt in the British Motor Corporation's £49m. development plan was made by shop stewards representing 3,500 B.M.C. workers today.

The shop stewards and the management appear to disagree absolutely about the prospects facing the men at the factory of Nuffield Metal Products, Washwood Heath, this winter.

Next month's production schedules included cuts of 40 per cent in the production of bodies for the Morris 1000, the Minor Traveller and the 5 cwt. van at the factory, said Mr Ira Hill. chairman of the factory shop stewards. This would surely mean that some of the workers would have to go on short time while bodies for the new Morris 1100 were being put out on contract to the Pressed Steel works at Swindon.

"It seems that we have got the dying models while an outside firm has got a new one which looks like being a winner", he added.

"We have every sympathy with the railway men but we notice that Pressed Steel are putting out statements that they can employ a large number of railwaymen who are going to b. laid off. We feel that we should get the work."

The shop stewards claimed that B.M.C. had not honoured promises that the expansion plan would not be detrimental to production in existing B.M.C. factories, that work would be brought back from outside factories in the event of short-time working and that there would be a transference of labour within B.M.C. in the event of short-time working in certain factories. They asked that the plan should be halted until short-time working in Birmingham was at an end. A B.M.C. spokesman said it was not expected there would be short-time working at Nuffield Metal products although a reduction in the production of certain bodies was expected.

The Nuffield shop stewards nevertheless say that similar committees at other factories are also concerned about the general position. In the eyes of some workmen the expansion plan is covertly intended to divert work from the Midlands to areas of the country where labour costs are relatively low. In spite of management assurances in the past, this can obviously be an especially touchy subject at this time of the year when demand is traditionally slack.

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