Page 1, 7th July 1961

7th July 1961
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Page 1, 7th July 1961 — HOW UNIONS CAN REGAIN WORKERS' RESPECT
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People: Hugh Kay
Locations: Austin, Vienna, Paris, London

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HOW UNIONS CAN REGAIN WORKERS' RESPECT

By Hugh Kay

THE long history of unrest in the

motor car and allied industries is attributed, in a recently published report of the Economic League, to a systematic programme of disruption stemming from the Communistdominated World Federation of Trade Unions.

Between 1946 and 1960 the motor car industry sustained 369 strikes with a loss of 2,000,000 working days. Over the past nine years the industry's strike frequency has gone up by 180 per cent.

Familiar

The Economic League's report declares that " the present strength of extremist forces in the vehicle producing industries is the result of more than 10 years of highly concentrated activity." This started with a 1951 meeting of the WFTU, called to plan the disruption of defence arid export industries in the NATO countries.

The immediate result was a series of strikes in London and the Midlands, which yielded the now familiar pattern of thousands of men being laid off because a few, key workers have downed tools.

In 1952. the WFTU met in Vienna, and shop stewards attended from motor and accessory plants in Britain. Communistdominated committees subsequently emerged in key areas in this country and a new round of strikes affected }lumbers. Smiths. Austins Briggs. Fords and Park Royal.

Damage

Under the effective leadership of a Communist, the 1953 strike at Austin's killed production of 25.000 vehicles.

Then came the 1954 WFTI1 directive calling for a "relentless fight against schemes for increased productivity". Two years later, shop stewards from Rovers, Austins, Briggs and Morris Motors attended a meeting near Paris to plan co-ordination between themselves and their opposite numbers on the Continent.

There followed the automation strike at Standards, a major stoppage at B.M.C.. and another big one at Fords. In May, 1957, a permanent International Liaison Committee for car workers was set up by the WFTU, The meeting was attended from this country by 20 members of the Communist inspired National Council of Shop Stewards. They included men from Fords. Rootes, Austins, Morris, Cont. on p.7




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