Britain's labor conflict closed about 2,000 schools today and auto union officials called for a strike at the state-run British Leyland Co. Officials there said the troubled firm could not survive the walkout.
At the same time, other unions called off a scheduled strike by porters, cooks and cleaners that would have shut down 17 London hospitals.
In the schools, cafeteria workers and custodians staged surprise walkouts, forcing the closings. Tens of thousands of children were sent home as a result of the work stoppages, the latest in a series by 1.5 million of Britain's lowest-paid workers.
Union officials representing 100,000 workers at British Leyland voted overwhelmingly for an all-out strike.
British Leyland, which has one of Britain's worst strike records, is a major exporter and dollar earner.
Granville Hawley, a top official of the Transport and General Workers Union, said "the effect of such a strike could be catastrophic for the company."
Pat Lowry, the company's industrial relations chief, said, "This is an act of complete and utter folly. Leyland could not come through that sort of thing and survive."
Union officials will submit the strike call to meetings of workers this week and a final decision and date for the walkout will be announced a week from today, the union said.
A walkout would mean a nationwide shutdown for the auto company and all its 36 plants.
The strike call followed a company announcement that because of strikes and other disruptions it does not have the money to make special payments worth up to $20 weekly to most of its manual workers.
The 1977 agreement called for "pay parity" arrangements to iron out pay anomalies among hourly paid workers by November of this year. But this depended on continued production and an end to walkouts and disruption.
Throughout the country, uncollected garbage was stacked on sidewalks. It blocked narrow streets and was dumped in other spaces.
The scheduled strike by the 2,000 nonmedical hospital employes was called off after night-long negotiations in which Social Services Secretary David Ennals joined.
Even so, most hospitals throughout the country refused admission for all but acute emergency cases or kept open only with difficulty.