Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 18 April 2013 at 13:26 GMT

Angry workers protest outside Ford's UK headquarters

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason   (Click to enlarge)

Ford's closure plans have angered workers in East London. Workers from Ford's Dagenham Stamping & Tooling Operations plant finished their night shift and descended on Ford's UK headquarters as Unite convenors from around the country met management on 18 April for a Ford National Joint Negotiating Committee (FNJNC).

A consultative ballot for strike action gained an 81% yes vote from the Unite tool makers at the plant, since Fords announced the closure of the plant and a strike ballot is now proceeding.

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Photo P Mason

Vince Passfield, Deputy Regional Secretary of Unite told The Socialist that Ford's simultaneous closures of two UK plants - Southampton and Dagenham - was unprecedented. "To compound matters the separate terms offered for Southampton far exceed that offered to workers at Dagenham. Workers feel they are being treated as second class citizens."

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Photo P Mason

Mark Stephens, plant convenor, said, “Never before have Ford closed a plant as quickly and the reason we’re very angry is that although they’ve promised us all jobs there are 120 toolmakers who will not find suitable alternative employment in the Engine Plant next door. 40% of Ford’s toolmaking has been outsourced over the years. That should be brought back in-house for a start.”

Shop Steward Dominic O'Callaghan said "We've been kept in the dark all the time and the union has had to chase the company for answers since they announced the closure and we're still chasing." National Officer Roger Maddison called Fords' treatment of the workers "an absolute disgrace. Ford doesn't give a shit about people who work for them."

Dennis Varney (right) supporting the Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Dennis Varney (right) supporting the Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Dennis Varney, an ex-Ford worker and now a member of the Visteon Pensioners Action Group (VPAG), joined the protest, explaining, "I was 38 years with Fords and then Ford Visteon, and am now retired and part of the Visteon pension action group.

"I'm here today to support my ex-colleagues. Given that Ford reneged on the Visteon pensions promises that they made, it doesn't surprise me they are reneging on this deal.

"The only thing that Ford understands is a bloody nose. Bill Ford, the executive of Ford and great great grandson of Henry Ford said last month in an interview in the USA that 'employees are the backbone of the company', and spoke about 'honesty' and 'compassion in the workplace'. Yet most of us had over 30 years' service and got nothing for it."

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason   (Click to enlarge)

Workers chanted 'One Ford, One pay'. Dave commented, "Ford's always said they are 'one firm' but they aren't. You've got Southampton terms, Genk terms, and our terms which are the lowest."

Steve said "The Ford logo is 'One Ford, One Plan, One Goal. And we have one question about that plan - is it to close all UK Ford plants?"

Rob Williams (NSSN) joins Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason

Rob Williams (NSSN) joins Ford Dagenham protest outside Ford UK headquarters, photo P Mason   (Click to enlarge)

National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) national chair Rob Williams, an ex-Ford worker and former Visteon convenor, gave support and solidarity from the NSSN. He said:

"Given what the stark prospect these workers are facing and the fact that a big part of their pay-off is a bribe not to take action, the strike ballot and this protest is very brave and must be supported by other Ford UK workers and throughout the union movement.

"It also shows what could have been achieved when the closures were first announced last October, if there had been a clear lead given to workers in Southampton, Dagenham Stamping and also Genk, but it's never too late. Nothing is guaranteed but fighting now can at least force the best terms out of Ford.

"It is natural that these workers want to improve their redundancy and job reassignment terms but an attempt must be made to raise their sights that even at this late stage the closures can be fought. Hopefully, the convenors and the national union officers have made it clear to Ford today that 'normal' service is over and that if these workers strike, they will be fully supported throughout the UK with a call for support sent out across the company's European operations.

"There were over 50,000 Ford UK workers in 2000; there'll be barely a fifth of that left if Southampton and Dagenham Stamping close.

"Every Ford worker that's left in this country must be shown that fighting for these plants and these jobs makes their position more secure."

Pete Mason

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 April 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:


triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleVote for action to save Ford plant

triangleBridgend Ford overtime stoppage in sourcing dispute

trianglePrecise, visceral account of working class heroism

triangleLeaked document threatens jobs and conditions at Ford Bridgend


triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: How can we get Corbyn's policies into Southampton council?

triangleSocialist Party Southern regional conference


trianglePotential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleFinal meeting of Swansea Visteon pensioners


triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleHomeless due to the housing crisis


triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleVisteon pensioners take solidarity to Fords workers


triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleNSSN pre-TUC rally

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences



Packed Newham meeting against academies



Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation



Heating scandal on east London estate



Undercover policing legal challenge



No to the Woolwich monster block



Workplace news in brief



PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership



Hackney school cleaners strike



RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue



Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages



We must fight all council cuts!


Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference



Home care workers to strike


Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



January 2018






















Platform setting: = No platform choice