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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 April 2008

Jaguar/Land Rover

Uncertain future for workers

INDIAN CONGLOMERATE Tata has bought Jaguar & Land Rover (JLR) from Ford for 1.15 billion - half the price they originally paid for the businesses. Apparently, the jobs of over 16,000 workers have been secured by the deal.

Rob Williams, Convenor, Swansea Visteon Plant

However, with an eye on what happened in Longbridge in MG Rover and also TVR in Blackpool, where British car workers were promised a rescue plan and then thrown on the scrapheap, these workers and the thousands who depend on them in the component manufacturers, will adopt a 'wait and see' approach'.

In reality, Ford is using the profitable Land Rover as a sweetener to offload the ailing Jaguar. But they are responsible for this with their disastrous policy of trying to make Jaguar into a mass-selling car. In fact, they only succeeded in downgrading it and losing its 'executive' appeal.

This was part of Ford's plan for world domination in the 1980s and 1990s when they also took over Volvo and Aston Martin.

This was OK when the gas guzzlers were selling in the US's boom economy. Now boom has turned to bust Ford has been shattered.

While union leaders welcomed the purchase, workers will tread carefully. Ford and Tata directors and shareholders will always act in their own interests. Ford is brutally making its workforce pay the price for its failures in the USA, with its new contract of about 7 an hour - a 50% cut.

Tata will be fully prepared to move against its workforce to protect its profits. This will be multiplied if, as expected, the world economy tips into recession.

Already JLR suppliers are being warned that they have to be 'competitive' to keep supplying. Yet there are thousands of UK jobs in this sector.

No doubt, union leaders see Tata as the 'lesser evil' but there is another alternative. JLR should be nationalised with no compensation paid to rich Ford shareholders or other fat cats.

This would secure JLR workers' jobs but only on the basis of workers control and management, not the 'Old' Labour nationalisations of the past which kept the bosses in control. This would be a beacon to Britain's three million manufacturing workers.

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In The Socialist 2 April 2008:

End Labour's 'them and us' society

Capitalism gambles with our lives

Editorial: For a 35-hour week with no loss of pay


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Victory shows campaigning can save out NHS!

"Halve your expenses and save our post offices"


Environment

The devastating effects of biofuels

Airports: Expanding profits at our expense


Socialist Students

ID cards: No to students being used as guinea pigs!

National Union of Students rejects constitutional changes


Workplace news and analysis

Fight back against the Unison witch-hunt!

Jaguar/Land Rover: Uncertain future for workers

Tube workers strike to defend network safety

Shelter staff ask for support

NUJ Members fight attacks on jobs and conditions

Teachers vote to strike

National Shop Stewards Network second conference


Marxist analysis: history

1848: year of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

USA elections: Break with the two parties of big business!

Kazakhstan socialist jailed for protesting


Socialist Party review

From Russia: French and Russian master paintings 1870-1925 from Moscow and St Petersburg


 

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