Trauma at Triumph -Extracts from a Turbulent Time
The Times Newspaper extracts 1960-1961. A troublesome time for the UK motor industry with strikes, downturn due to the credit squeeze and lay offs. Not exclusive to Standard Triumph, the whole industry suffered the same - surprising any cars were produced at all when you read through the following Times accounts!
No significant action at Standard Triumph despite troubles at Cowley and Longbridge. It begins to simmer.
2,000 Car Men Laid Off Indefinitely
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
COVENTRY, JAN. 31
Two thousand car production workers have been laid off indefinitely by Standard-Triumph at Coventry because of a strike by 600 National Union of Vehicle Builders members employed at the Birmingham subsidiary firm of Mulliners Ltd. Union officials will try tomorrow to get the vehicle builders to return to work on Tuesday, but production of Triumph Herald cars cannot be resumed until after the strike ends.
If the dispute does not end quickly Standard's entire labour force of 11,000 will have to be laid off. A Standard spokesman said today that the strikers have not yet said why they have downed tools.
31,000 Idle In Car Strikes
FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT
BIRMINGHAM, FEB. 1
Production by three of the " Big Six" British motor manufacturers was today crippled by strikes-official and unofflcial-in which more than 31,000 workers were idle in the Birmingham, Coventry, and Oxford areas.
A total of 24,000 British Motor Corporation workers are laid off as a result of the strike of 55 electricians at a key component factory, and car production has been halted at their biggest factory, the Austin works at Longbridge.
All car production by Standard-Triumph has been stopped by the strike at Mulliner's, their car body suppliers, and Rovers at Solihull have had to stop production of Land-Rovers because of a strike of sheet metal workers.
The deadlock continued in the week-old stoppage of electricians at the B.M.C. tractor and transmissions branch factory at Washwood Heath, Birmingham. This dispute, caused by the dissatisfaction of electricians' mates with a bonus scheme that was accepted by other workers several months ago, has been recognized as official by the Electrical Trades Union. A spokesman of Standard-Triumph International, Coventry, said that all the firm's assembly lines closed down at midday today and 4,000 workers were laid off.
800 To End Car Body Strike
FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT
BIRMINGHAM, FEB. 2
One of the three strikes that have paralysed much of the Midland car industry was settled today. The 800 vehicle builders who stopped work on Friday at the Birmingham factory of Mulliners, Ltd., part of Standard- Triumph International, decided to resume work tomorrow. This will allow production to be resumed at Standard's Coventry factory where 4,000 workers have been laid off.
The strike of 55 electricians at a branch factory of the British Motor Corporation which has halted car production at Austin's and crippled output throughout the rest of the group continues.
So does the strike of sheet metal workers at the Coventry factory of the Rover Co., Ltd., which has stopped Land-Rover production at the firm's Solihull factory.
TALKS WITH FIRM
After the men on strike at Mulliners had decided to return to work, Mr G. Evans, Birnlingham organizer of the National Union of Vehicle Builders, said a conference would be held with the management tomorrow to resolve outstanding difficulties.
BIRMINGHAM, FEB. 3
Only one car of the British Motor Corporation range, the Wolseley 6/99 remains in production and nearly 32,000 of the corporation's 56,000 labour force are idle as a result of the strike by 55 electricians at the tractor and transmrission factory at Washwood Heath
The Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions have called a conference in London tomorrow to discuss the widening effects of the stoppage and the loss of earnings now being suffered by thousands of their members whose unions are not directly concerned in the dispute.
The sheet metal workers' strike which brought production of the Land Rover to a standstill at the Solihull factory of the Rover Company continued today. About 2,000 men at the factory are now idle because of the stoppage, which began last Thursday when 39 welders at a Coventry branch factory objected to a replacement worker sent to their department. About 220 workers at the main factory at Solihull have since joined the strike in sympathy.
At the Standard-Triumph factory, Coventry, where 4,000 men have been laid off because of a strike of vehicle builders- at the company's subsidiary body building firm, Mulliners Limited, Birmingham, production returned to normal today.
February 9th 1960
SECOND DISPUTE IN WEEK
A second strike in a week hit production at the Birmingham car body building factory of Mulliners Ltd, yesterday.
About 300 vehicle builders stopped work after being told the components made by Motor Panels Ltd., of Coventry, had been declared " black." Twenty-two members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders at Motor Panels Ltd., are on strike over alleged discrmination against the union.
STANDARD-TRIUMPH'S MERSEYSIDE PLANS
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LIVERPOOL, FEB. 9
It was announced at Speke, Liverpool, today that the Standard-Triumph Group are to spend £11m. on new works on Merseyside. The scheme, part of an £18m. expansion, embraces a three-year plan under which 4,500 will be employed at Speke.
£150M. Car Plans The £18m. expansion programme announced yesterday by Standard- Triumph International raises the total planned capital expenditure of the British motor industry to over £150m. Ford and B.M.C. are each proposing to spend £50m., Rootes earlier stated its intention to spend a further £10m. and Vauxhall is intending to spend £30m. The new plants which Ford, B.M.C., and Standard-Triumph are to build will provide some 23,000 jobs between them. So far Merseyside has attracted the lion's share of new investment and the three development schemes of Ford, Standard- Triumph and B.M.C in that area are expected to provide employment for some 14,000 even in the initial stages so that they will transform the employment position, traditionally below average, of the Liverpool area.
Only the British Motor Corporation has as yet given the amount and the form of Government aid that it will receive. In this case the three new factories in Wales, Scotland, and Merseyside are to be built for it at a cost of £9,5O.000 on an amortization basis by the Board of Trade. What form the aid given to the other companies will take is not yet known, but it will presumably follow the same pattern. The interesting point at present is the way in which Merseyside has gained so much of the new employment, presumably because it is the most convenient "high unemployment " area.
February 11th 1960
22 Strikers Go Back
The strike by members of the National Union of Vehicle Builders at Motor Panels, Ltd., Coventry, which has affected vehicle production at the Coventry factories of Bristol Siddeley and Standard-Triumph, and at Mulliners, Birmingham, since last Thursday, is over.
Management and union representatives reached agreement yesterday under the chairmanship of a Ministry of Labour conciliation officer and normal working is to be resumed to-day. The 22 strikers walked out claiming that their union was not recognized and that some of them had been told to leave it or be dismissed.
February 23rd 1960
Standard-Triumph Buys Alforder Newton
Standard Triumph International announced last night that their offer, worth over £500,000. for the Ordinary share capital of Alforder Newton, had been accepted by all the Ordinary shareholders.
Alforder Newton makes all the front suspensions for Standard-Triumph's range of vehicles.
February 27th 1960
Two thousand men are on strike at Hardy Spicer over the dismissal of a shop steward, Mr F. Troth, whom the firm accuse of misconduct. The firm make propeller-shafts for a wide range of companies. The stoppage has already led to 3,900 workers in the motor industry being laid off.
The British Motor Corporation, who are already losing production at the rate of 3,900 vehicles a week, said yesterday that they would be laying off a further 1,700 hands last night. A further 3,000 to 4,000 workers would be idle by Tuesday night.
'Hour's Notice For 150 Men'
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
COVENTRY, MARCH 14
Mulliners Ltd., the Birmingham car body building firm in the Standard- Triumph International group, dismissed today the entire production force of 150 workers at their Coventry plant. The men said they received an hour's notice and a week's pay.
Mulliners Ltd had no statement on the dismissals but the parent body said that a contract between Mulliners and themselves for the partial supply of Vanguard bodies had been terminated. The termination would not affect the current or future production of Vanguard cars. This afternoon trade union officials met representatives of Mulliners at the offices of Coventry Engineering Employers' Association and were told, it is understood, that the firm's decision was irrevocable. A request that the dismissed men be reinstated was refused, and a union official said afterwards that it was not yet known whether the Coventry plant was to close. Maintenance and stores men were continuing working. Tomorrow the dismissed men will have separate meetings with their union officials to hear of any developments.
" WILDCAT LOCKOUT"
Mr C. Gallagher, Coventry area organizer of the National Union of Vehicle Builders, which has 74 men among those dismissed, said: "The dismissals came like a bolt out of the blue. This is a wildcat lockout. There had been no hint of sackings at all."
Union officials understand that the termination of the contract meant the immediate stopping of work. The plant, it seems, has not been operating economically since it was taken over last year from the Birmingham firm of Fisher and Ludlow Ltd. At that time it was intended to build up a labour force of 1,000, but since then there have been long and uneasy negotiations over pay rates, which, it is thought, have delayed efforts to get the factory fully operational. Mr George Evans, Birmingham district organizer of the N.U.V.B., said last night that the situation at Coventry could have repercussions in Birmingham. "The whole thing is fantastic," he said. "They were in process of building a new paint shop at the Coventry factory and suddenly, at the drop of a hat, they closed the factory down."
Re-Employment For 80 Of 120 Dismissed Men
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
COVENTRY, MARCH 15
An offer of re-employment for 80 of the 120 men summarily dismissed by Mulliners Ltd., at Coventry, on Monday was today accepted by the unions concerned. Standard Triumph International Ltd., the parent company, who ordered Monday's dismissals, offered to absorb the men on the production of Triumph Herald cars at their Canley factory.
The offer came at a time when the 11,000 men at Canley had refused to handle Vanguard car bodies on which the dismissed men had been employed and were threatening a complete ban on overtime on all models. The unions are to take up the question of assurances that this kind of dismissal will not happen again with the local Engineering Employers' Association which has acted on Standard's behalf. The unions are also seeking a meeting with the managing director of Standard's to press their claim that the remaining 40 men should be kept on the company payroll until alternative employment can be found for them.
The Mulliners factory at Coventry was taken over by Standard's last October. The entire labour force of 120 men was dismissed at an hour's notice on Monday and given a week's wages in lieu of notice. It is understood the Standard management have found that the use of the plant has become uneconomic.
March 24th 1960
SHORTER WORKING WEEK FOR 11,000
Final agreement was reached at Coventry yesterday on proposals for a shorter working week for the 11,000 employees of Standard-Triumph International Ltd. A 40-75 hour working week is to be introduced instead of the present 42-5 hours. Assembly track speeds are to be adjusted to maintain existing production levels. Wages will not be affected.
Car Era Starts On Merseyside
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
LIVERPOOL, MARCH 31
The first tangible sign of the redirection of Midlands prosperity to less fortunate areas was seen here today when the Standard-Triumph group's scheme for an £11m. motor car plant at Speke, which will provide about 4,000 new jobs for Merseyside where there are 25,000 unemployed, was inaugurated.
Having acquired control of an existing engineering plant here-Hall Engineering ,where body parts for the Triumph Herald are being made, the group has one foot in the door and has thus been able to lead the promised influx of motor car manufacturers into Merseyside.
DAY OF TRIUMPH
The tradition of cutting the sod being deemed to belong to the horse age rather than the era of the internal combustion Engine, Mr Alick Dick climbed into the driving seat of a caterpillar tractor which was coupled to an earth-scraping machine. He drove the whole device round the field with considerable dexterity after a few minutes' instruction, shifting much more earth than is usual in these formal ceremonies. With him on the machine, a slightly apprehensive passenger, was Alderman J. Braddock, leader of Liverpool Council, who regards this day as the culmination of his campaigning to attract industry to Merseyside. Alderman Braddock aptly remarked later that this was " a day of triumph for Merseyside. "Liverpool looked like becoming a boom town", he said happily.
April 4th 1960
Standard-Triumph International Ltd. announce that Mr F. B. Dixon has joined the board. Following the reorganization of the group last year and its continuing development, two new wholly owned subsidiary companies have been formed:-
Standard-Triumph (Liverpool) Ltd., which wil be the manufacturing subsidiary at Speke, Liverpool, with the following directors: Mr A. S. Dick, executive chairman; Mr F. B. Dixon, managing director; Mr M. J. Tustin; and Mr L. A. Woodall.
Standard-Triumph Engineering Ltd., which will be responsible for group engineering, design, and research, with the following: Mr M. J. Tustin, executive chairman; Mr H. G. Webster, director and general manager; Mr F. B. Dixon, director; Mr J. A. Lind, director; and Mr M. Whitfield, director.
The following changes have been made to the boards of certain subsidiary companies in the Standard-Triumph group:-
Standard-Triumph Sales Limited and Triumph Motor Co. (1945) Limited.-Mr A. S. Dick has relinquished his seat on these boards and is succeeded as executive chairman of each company by Mr M. Whitfield.
Standard Motor Company.-Mr M. J. Tustin relinquishes his seat on the board; Mr A. C. Swindle has been appointed works director.
Standard-Triumph Group Services Limited.-Mr K. Aspland, Mr H. S. Weale. Mr H. G. Webster, and Mr M. Whitfield relinquish their seats on the board and the following new appointments have been made: Mr J. K. S. Carpenter, executive director; Mr W. H. Boardman, director and group financial accountant; Mr F. J. Leaver, director and group cost accountant.
Alforder Newton Limited.-Mr K. Aspland and Mr S. G. Seymour have joined the board.
Mulliners Limited.-Mr E. B. Montesole has retired and is succeeded as chairman by Colonel C. White, who continues as managing director. Mr H. S. Weale has joined the board.
Forward Radiator Company.-Mr L. A. Woodall is appointed executive chairman.