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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 November 2012

United action to save all Ford jobs!

Picketing at Fords Dagenham, 18 June 2012, photo Pete Mason

Picketing at Fords Dagenham, 18 June 2012, photo Pete Mason   (Click to enlarge)

National Shop Stewards Network and Socialist Party members have been producing regular bulletins supporting the Ford workers fighting the closure of the Ford plants in Dagenham and Southampton. These are extracts from the latest Southampton edition.

Unity is strength. Over 400 contract workers at Southampton will not receive Ford redundancy terms and could receive statutory redundancy.

Workers at the 81 suppliers to the Transit also face job cuts. A united campaign to involve all those affected can ensure the strongest opposition.

It is vital that the unions, especially Unite, act decisively and speedily to mobilise against the closures.

General secretary Len McCluskey has said the union will fight the closure plans. Leading reps in the Transit plant see the need to fight.

Unite policy is for a national strike ballot to be called in the event of a plant closure threat. A battle on this scale would petrify Ford and the government.

Such a campaign should link up with Ford workers in Belgium at Genk, who organised mass walkouts and protests at their factory last week.

The scandalous truth is Ford wants to shift production from Southampton to Turkey, with the use of subsidies from the European Union.

The company wants to make even bigger profits by exploiting cheaper labour there. Union links with Turkey must be built.

While Fords plead poverty and take hard pressed tax payers' subsidies, Ford UK bosses in 2008 took enough in bonuses to finance the retooling of Southampton.

Since 24 October, the day management announced the closure of the plant by the end of 2013, Ford workers in Genk have blocked the site.

Nothing comes in, or goes out. Although they plan to go back to work from 13 November, the blockade will not be lifted. Finished cars will be stocked inside and used as a bargaining treasure.

On 11 November a big solidarity demonstration will be held in Genk. Ford workers from Southampton and Dagenham, from Blanquefort and other plants in Europe intend to be there.

Ford stole our pensions

On 5 and 6 November, two weeks after 1,400 Ford workers were told that they face the dole, ex-Ford Visteon pensioners with Socialist Party members and NSSN supporters, leafleted the Ford plants in Bridgend, Southampton and Dagenham.

Unite is preparing for legal action to win back the full value of their pensions from Ford.

In 2000, Ford created Visteon as a so-called independent component manufacturer, with the guarantee that jobs, pay, terms and conditions would be given 'life-time protection'.

However, in 2009 Visteon was put into administration, the three remaining plants - Basildon, Belfast and Enfield - were closed with 600 workers sacked with minutes' notice.

Through occupations and pickets, including the threat to blockade Bridgend, they were able to win a decent pay-off.

But over 3,000 sacked workers and pensioners from these plants, and the factory in Swansea that was sold to Linamar in 2008 and closed in 2010, have had their pensions slashed because it was put into the Pension Protection Fund.

However, the pensioners got organised and have conducted a campaign of protests and lobbies which will continue up to the court date next spring.

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In The Socialist 7 November 2012:


 

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