Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25816

Posted on 10 July 2017 at 14:37 GMT

Vote for action to save Bridgend Ford plant

Ford plans to 'run down' its plant at Bridgend, south Wales, photo Mike Mozart (Creative Commons)

Ford plans to 'run down' its plant at Bridgend, south Wales, photo Mike Mozart (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, Socialist Party national industrial organiser and former Visteon (ex-Ford) Unite convenor

Bridgend Ford workers will be voting on industrial action when ballot papers go out at the end of this week. They want answers.

They know that the clock is ticking and the future of the plant is on the line. The time to act is now before it is too late.

This struggle is one of the most important in south Wales for years and is as crucial to retaining Welsh manufacturing as the fight to save Port Talbot steelworks last year. It is absolutely vital that the whole Welsh trade union movement gives full support and solidarity to the Ford unions and their members, who could be on strike as early as August.

Back in February, general union Unite alerted its members in the factory that Ford's sourcing plans going forward would mean that 1,160 out of 1,800 jobs would be lost - putting the viability of the engine plant in doubt.

Correctly, Unite told Ford that if it didn't change its plans, or at least enter serious talks, the union would consult members on balloting for industrial action.

However, in the meantime - after being provoked by management, who stopped union notices going onto the shop floor - members stopped working overtime.

This was always meant to send a signal to the company that members are serious and it can't be 'business as usual' while the shadow of doubt hangs over the plant. This has been reinforced by the indicative ballot result.

Just as happened with the coal and steel industries when they contracted, Bridgend has become the Ford plant of last resort. So there will be workers from the plant who transferred from the closed factories in Treforest, Swansea and Southampton, who know very well about Ford's ruthlessness.

The main lesson of these closures is that the time to take action to put pressure on Ford to change its plans is when you are making products that Ford needs. We therefore welcome the recent letter from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, updating members on developments and committing the union to an official industrial action ballot.

But support has to be built for it to ensure that the higher voting thresholds set by the Tories' latest Trade Union Act are overcome. It is a scandal that a Conservative government that couldn't win a majority in the election is able to impose undemocratic restrictions on workers, especially those who are fighting for their livelihoods.

This week, in the run-up to ballot papers going out, there need to be plant meetings addressed by the union both from inside and outside the plant to give members confidence to vote for action.

The biggest possible 'yes' vote and the preparedness to take the necessary action will put the maximum pressure on Ford to talk properly to the union - about committing to sourcing that will maintain the plant at its current size.

At the same time, the workforce has to send a clear message to Ford: any attempt to take out machinery will be met with an immediate stoppage. If the company tries to stop the union organising plant meetings with its own representatives and officers, the union should call them outside if necessary.

It is Ford - not the union - that has created this crisis, which has caused stress for workers and their families through its sourcing announcement.

There also has to be a national meeting of Ford convenors and shop stewards to discuss solidarity to ensure that Bridgend isn't isolated. If this plant closes, it will only make it easier to close the rest.

And pressure must be put on the Labour-led Welsh assembly government to intervene.

If necessary, it should take the plant into public ownership to keep Bridgend open and save jobs and the community. The general election showed that Jeremy Corbyn's policies for public ownership in railways, utilities and Royal Mail are popular with workers.

It's time to step up the fight to save Bridgend plant.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 July 2017 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:

Bridgend:

triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleBridgend Ford overtime stoppage in sourcing dispute

triangleLeaked document threatens jobs and conditions at Ford Bridgend

triangleFord workers demand answers to Bridgend plant sourcing questions

Ford:

trianglePrecise, visceral account of working class heroism

trianglePotential new steel bosses refuse to take on pensions

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleFinal meeting of Swansea Visteon pensioners

Union:

triangleSupport the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Workers:

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

triangleThe Socialist's 2017 quiz

Unite:

triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

Strike:

triangleNewham anti-academies strikes

South Wales:

triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

Rob Williams:

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

Manufacturing:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/12/17

Haringey

Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

16/12/17

North West

Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

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