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Thousands idle as fresh strikes hit car industry

29 August 1969

Midland Industrial Correspondent

A fresh outbreak of strikes hit the already troubled car industry yesterday. By last night over 7,000 workers were idle at British Leyland, Rootes, and Ford plants with the jobs of a further several thousand in imminent danger. In the three weeks since most of the major manufacturers returned from their annual holiday break hardly a day has passed without a serious interruption to production-all caused by unofficial stoppages in assembly plants or in the factories of key suppliers.

British Leyland's Standard- Triumph subsidiary is the worst hit by the latest outbreak. Nearly 1,200 workers walked out at the Wood End. Liverpool. factory on Wednesday in support of a pay claim. Yesterday a further 1,000 were laid-off at the main assembly plant at Coventry because of a shortage of bodv parts produced at Wood End. Production was also hit at a third factorv in the group, Forward Radiators, Birmingham, which manufactures body panels to match up with Wood End's output.

Nine hundred and fifty workers were laid-off. In a statement Standard Triumph's management criticized the Wood End strikers in the strongest terms for taking unconstitutional action in the middle of negotiations. Another British Leyland company, Pressed Steel Fisher, which is still struggling to recover from the effects of the recently settled strike by British Road Services delivery drivers. laid off the entire workforce at its Common Lane, Birmingham, factory when 130 storemen stopped work over a manning dispute and decided not to meet again until Monday. Common Lane produces body Panels for the Minor 1000 range of cars and vans and the A55 van. Assembly lines for these vehicles will be seriously affected within the next 48 hours.

By Geoffrey Whiteley

One thousand Standard-Triumph workers were laid off yesterday in Coventry because of a strike at the company's Liverpool factory which has interrupted the flow of car body shells. The company stated that, unless the Merseyside unofficial strike, by 1,150 men , was settled quickly, the number of workers laid off at Coventry would " increase rapidly."

The Liverpool workers stopped work on Wednesday while talks were going on over a wage claim. The company claimed that their stoppage was "entirely unconstitutional ." The main interference so far has been with the supply of sports car and Triumph 1300 body shells to the Coventry assembly plant. Production of completed cars is likely to continue at Coventry, at least until the end of this week, but more lay-offs and a reduced output are certain if the Liverpool stoppage continues.

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