Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/492/2531

From The Socialist newspaper, 21 June 2007

Land Rover/Jaguar

Workers must fight Ford sell-off plans

OVER 18,000 car workers directly employed in Jaguar and Land Rover are furious that their owner Ford is threatening their livelihoods by putting the businesses up for sale. This is particularly worrying as the likely bidders are private equity firms.

Rob Williams Swansea Visteon TGWU convenor (personal capacity)

Ford bought the two companies in the 1990s in a bid to go 'upmarket'. This was the period when Ford still had ambitions to take over as the world's biggest carmaker. Part of this strategy was to develop the big 4X4 market, which was hugely profitable, especially in the US.

However, following the soaring of oil prices after 9/11, their sales were hit by the cheaper and more heavily invested Asian carmakers such as Toyota. As a result Ford, like its 'Big Three' rivals General Motors and Chrysler, is in deep financial trouble.

While the Big Three managements blame their workers' 'generous' pay, terms and conditions (including pensions and medical coverage - an absolute necessity in the US) for failure, the reality is that they bet big on the more lucrative end of the market and lost. Now tens of thousands of car workers and their families have to pay the price. In the US alone, Ford are sacking over 40,000 workers.

This is the background to the announcement concerning Jaguar and Land Rover. Fords are actually using the profitable Land Rover as the sweetener to get rid of Jaguar.

However, who ends up buying the businesses is hardly a concern for Ford management. They may like the numbers being touted by various private equity firms but that prospect is a terrifying one for workers in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood.

Private equity is a shadowy part of capitalism. For big business, it is ideal for dealing with the 'problem' of restructuring big, established companies. Of course, workers see their solutions as rather less appealing!

These companies usually use either debt or a massive investment fund, which can consist of strange bedfellows.

For example, one private equity deal used money from a Dutch steelworkers' pension fund! The bought company, whether it is a public (plc) or private (ltd) limited company is then taken out of the public eye to be 'restructured'.

This will usually include downsizing: sacking workers and closing plants and/or making them more 'efficient', reducing terms and conditions and increasingly closing pension schemes.

Unions like the GMB are exposing private equity scandals like the almost nominal tax they pay (which partly explains why they are so profitable!). No wonder the Jaguar/Land Rover deal is already meeting with such opposition. Ford need to be left in no doubt that these 'carpet-baggers' won't be tolerated.

Joint meeting

AN IMMEDIATE joint meeting of Land Rover/Jaguar trade union convenors with their counterparts in Ford should be called to send out the message of opposition. Ford workers know that they would be next if this deal goes through, especially as many of the UK plants supply Jaguar and Land Rover.

Stewards in all three companies should then be brought together in a combine meeting to start thrashing out the industrial action strategy that will be necessary to save jobs and plants.

These car workers would have welcomed Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley's demand for government intervention. But this should be concretised - Jaguar and Land Rover should be nationalised with workers' control and management and without any compensation for the Ford bosses.

They have benefited from decades of government aid but now are trying to exit the UK.

The shop stewards would be the starting point in drawing up a study on how to make the most of these huge productive levers for the benefit of all society.

This could then be extended to the other major branches of industry. As Tony Woodley himself said, we shouldn't accept the 'worst-case scenarios'. There are no short cuts to the saving and maintaining of almost 20,000 jobs, particularly as over 100,000 manufacturing jobs are being lost every year.


Call for 'Unite' to take a lead

COVENTRY SOCIALIST Party councillor, DAVE NELLIST, aims to commit Britain's largest union to a national campaign to save threatened jobs at Jaguar.

The Amicus section of the Unite conference is meeting on 18-20 June. Unite was formed by the recent merger of Amicus and the TGWU and includes amongst its members the overwhelming majority of trade unionists in Jaguar and Land Rover's Coventry, Birmingham and Liverpool plants.

Dave, a delegate to the conference, and chair of one of the union's Coventry branches that includes over 600 Jaguar workers at Whitley, hopes other union delegates will agree to an emergency debate on Ford's rumoured sell-off of Jaguar and Land Rover.


Emergency motion to 2007 Conference

"This conference is appalled at the potential consequences of the sale or break-up of Jaguar/Land Rover, on the workforce and their communities, in Coventry, Birmingham and Liverpool.

"We call on both sections of Unite to organise an emergency national shop stewards conference from the plants affected to unite around a plan of action, including demanding government intervention, to ensure that the jobs and skills in this key part of manufacturing industry are retained.

"We further call on both sections of Unite to organise a national march and rally to give support to our members in the affected plants and to give them the confidence that they will not stand alone whilst a heartless multinational casts them to the wind."


Beware private equity!

ONE RUMOURED 3 billion bidder for Jaguar and Land Rover is the private equity firm Alchemy Partners. Alchemy, headed by Jon Moulton, was one of the companies originally involved in taking over Rover from BMW in 2000.

In the event it was another group, Phoenix, that bought Rover. They paid BMW just 10 and in return received a 1 billion dowry in cash and assets.

Having asset-stripped the company, Rover collapsed in 2005 putting 5,000 Rover workers and 13,000 support workers onto the dole.

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


In The Socialist 21 June 2007:

New PM... same old Bosses' agenda

Brown stresses 'continuity' with Blair

Manchester council swings the axe


Workplace news

Postal and post office workers demand action

National shop stewards' network

Workers must fight Ford sell-off plans

UNISON Leadership get a roasting from angry delegates

No UNISON witch-hunt!

Greenwich UNISON wins concessions

NUT miss opportunity on pay


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Stop Hatchet Hewitt's NHS plans now

Blood centre workers fight job cuts plan


Socialist Party news and analysis

Something for everyone at the summer camp

How Cadbury's keeps shareholders sweet...

Arise... Sir Stephen who?


War and terrorism

Withdraw occupation troops!

Palestinian infighting blows apart 'national unity' government


Socialist students and ISR

Have Scottish students got free education?

Eye-witness from the G8

Why you should join ISR


Workplace news and analysis

Deskilling and destaffing - Tube bosses' dream

PCS leadership recommends new deal to members


Global Warming

Turning the tide for alternative energy


International socialist news

South Africa - third week for public-sector strike


 

Home   |   The Socialist 21 June 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Ford:

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

Private equity:

triangleCorrection: Labour's private health links are worse!

triangleCare UK workers to strike for three weeks

triangleComet owners walk away with millions

triangleFox takes cronyism to new level

Jaguar:

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

triangleCar industry bailout plan

Rover:

triangleRover - Gangster capitalists were treated as saviours

Unite:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Coventry:

triangleConference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

TGWU:

trianglePoverty, repression and fightback on the docks

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

Visteon:

trianglePotential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2