Unnoticed, our once strike- ravaged car industry is triumphantly defying the recession- proof our industry CAN take on the world
"Donna Green grew up in the shadow of the giant Cowley car plant on the outskirts of Oxford. Her grandfather helped make Morris Minors, her father was an engineer with British Leyland, and evenings out as a child were spent with other workers’ families at the factory’s social club.
One of her earliest memories is waiting to cross the road as thousands of workers on bicycles pedalled past on their way to lunch.
Among them, in his oil-streaked overalls, would be her father, who joined the factory straight after World War II. ‘That smell of oil still reminds me of my dad to this day,’ she says.
But the plant seemed in terminal decline in those dark days of the Seventies. The management was mediocre, the design of cars dreary, and the 28,000 workforce led by feuding militants who thought they could spark revolution from the shop floor. With the nation on a slippery slope to self-destruction, nothing symbolised the strife wrecking the economy more than the British Leyland car plants. Union firebrands such as Derek Robinson — ‘Red Robbo’ — became infamous. Just two decades after being the world’s largest exporter of motor vehicles, the British car industry had broken down.
Fast forward to today, however, and things could not be more different. The workforce may be smaller, but as the factory churns out brightly-coloured Minis — that most British of vehicles —Cowley symbolises the rebirth of our automotive industry." Read more: News : A roaring British success! | AROnline