Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/363/5963
Fight The Bosses' Closure Plan
NEWS THAT Ford will end Jaguar car production at the Brown's Lane plant in Coventry has been met here with shock and anger. Now the workers are fighting back. Trade union shop stewards have unanimously agreed to fight the closure with workers overwhelmingly backing action, including a strike ballot.
Dave Griffiths and Rob Windsor, Coventry Socialist Party
Coventry workers have been given a solidarity boost after workers at the Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham (where Ford wants to shift production to), said they would support any action the Coventry workers take.
There should be no transfer of work between plants without the agreement of the workers at the plants concerned.
Brown's Lane is not just a car plant. It's put Coventry on the world map for skill and craftsmanship for over half a century. Workers have given decades of hard work, increased productivity and big profits to the bosses. And this is their reward from US multinational, Ford - the sack!
Keith White, TGWU union convenor at Jaguar, said workers had been "kicked in the teeth by Ford."
1,200 jobs will go, but most here fear even worse. Derek Simpson general secretary of the Amicus union said: "Ford's decision may kill off Jaguar altogether."
Ford callously announced the news (following rumours that emerged only mid-week) while workers were off work and left to watch helplessly on TV. No wonder people are disgusted.
The end of car production will blow a minimum £50 million hole in Coventry's economy, never mind its knock-on effects in the supply industry.
In the last two years we have lost Massey Ferguson, Marconi has virtually gone, a shift has gone at Peugeot and now Jaguar. Working people here fear that everyone in the city will become 'burger flippers' working on minimum wages.
Few have confidence that the remaining scraps of Jaguar jobs will last long or even that the research and design plant at Whitley, employing 2,000, has a long term future.
Fightback is growing
THE SOCIALIST Party has called for the trade unions to organise a national demonstration to defend manufacturing jobs, in Coventry. We welcome union leaders referring to an 'emergency meeting to build support through local unions' and of organising a demonstration. Hopefully an immediate date will be announced as soon as possible.
Socialist Party councillors will present a petition, enthusiastically endorsed by Coventry workers on public stalls last Saturday, to Thursday's council meeting calling on the council to organise a 'City meeting' to mobilise support for Jaguar workers and their families.
Many believe that Ford are asset stripping industry here. They are making huge profits globally but now they are asking workers to pay. We have also called for Ford's to open the company accounts. Let's see the real figures!
"Where have all the factories gone?", asked one young correspondent to Coventry's evening paper. Coventry is now "dominated by call centres, warehouses and greeting card shops. I feel like a heartless corporation has ripped the heart out of our proud and industrious city."
That's exactly what's happened. It's time for Jaguar and all Coventry workers to fight back.
- Strike to defend jobs.
- Organise a city-wide demo and industrial action in support of jobs and skills.
- Ford should be forced to open up the company accounts for inspection. Let's find out the real financial situation.
In The Socialist 25 September 2004:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis