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Picket leads back to work revolt

12 February 1979

By David Jack

Shop floor peacemaker Don Harris will risk the fury of the picket line he deserted when he leads a We Want to Work revolt at British Leyland today. Mr Harris, aged 44, who was manning the barricades at the strike - bound Longbridge plant in Birmingham last week, admitted: "I 'm scared. The last thing- I want to be is a martyr but someone has got to stop us from cutting our own throats. To carry on striking would be suicide."

Mr Harris is one of 18,000 Longbridge men who jumped the gun and walked out last week before a companywide vote to decide whether to call an all-out strike over a pay parity row. But the 2—1 majority throughout Leyland factories against strike action and the letter to all Longbridge men from BL bosses spelling out the reasons why they had been unable to meet the back-dated parity payments changed his thinking. This morning hundreds of police will stand by at Longbridge in case of trouble. The two plants at Longbridge are among six of the 34 BL plants to have voted for a strike. Meanwhile Leyland boss Michael Edwardes has written to 500 of his top executives saying:

" It would not be a good investment for the company to make the parity payments in order to persuade Longbridge, in particular, to return to work. We have decided we shall make no concessions whatever. If we do not live with the principle of paying only for performance given then we are on the slippery slope."

More news from the archive

Thu, 08 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS HANDING OUT All Out Strike Fury Closes Biggest Leyland Plant By Declan Cunningham The 'language of force' closed British...
Fri, 09 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS LEYLAND STALLS ON BRINK By Peter Hitchens and Declan Cunningham LEYLAND workers were split down the middle last night...
Sat, 10 Feb 1979
GLASGOW HERALD Victory For Leyland Moderates By Tom Cunliffe Twenty seven of British Leyland’s 33 manufacturing plants have rejected...
Sat, 10 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS REBELS CUT OFF LEYLAND PLANT By David Jack Behind the barbed-wire barricade are the men who refused to accept defeat....
Sat, 10 Feb 1979
THE GUARDIAN THE TRIBE THAT LOST THEIR HEADS By Jane McLoughlin The large majority of British Leyiand's workers have voted against...
Mon, 12 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS SINK OR SWIM AT LEYLAND By Jeremy Gates By a cruel twist of timing, the senior shop steward s of British Leyland sit...
Tue, 13 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS BACK FROM THE BRINK By Peter Mason and David Jack The all-out strike threatening Leyland was finally lifted yesterday...
Wed, 14 Feb 1979
THE GUARDIAN Leyland hit by another stoppage A new strike yesterday hit Leyland cars , already suffering multi-million pound losses...
Thu, 15 Feb 1979
DAILY EXPRESS IN GO THE MEN AT LONGBRIDGE OUT GO THE MEN AT SOLIHULL By Declan Cunningham The strike by 18,000 car workers at British...
Mon, 26 Feb 1979
THE LEDGER, USA LABOUR'S WOES IN THE UK By Robert D. Hershey Jr BIRMINGHAM, England - A soggy blue and white British Leyland banner...

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