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Car chief – you'll lose

6 April 1979

DAILY EXPRESS
CAR CHIEF : YOU'LL LOSE
By Barry Devney

Leyland may never recover if a threatened strike by skilled workers goes ahead today. That was the warning last night from the car company's chairman, Mr Michael Edwardes. Appealing to the men to keep working, Mr Edwardes said; "If plants are forced to shut we cannot guarantee that they will reopen.''

He was speaking after Industry Secretary Mr Eric Varley had urged craftsmen to ignore the strike call issued by Mr Roy Praser and his unofficial committee. Mr Varley said the last thing the State-owned firm could afford now was a major strike. The strike call follows years of unhappiness among toolroom and other skilled workers about the failure to restore differentials and give them back top place in Leyland's earning league. They want a £90 basic wage. The claim and the threatof action comes at the worst possible time for the Government. The stoppage could not be worse-timed for Leyland chiefs, who are seeking to negotiate a deal with the Japanese company Honda for its vehicles to be assembled in Britain at its factories while it develops a middle range car of its own.

Mr Edwardes said: "Mr Fraser and his colleagues cannot win. He has been told this by Mr Varley, his own union, and many other trades unionists."

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