Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/364/5977

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 October 2004

Fighting Back In Coventry

THE DECISION of Jaguar workers in Coventry to fight the decision to end car production has boosted the mood of opposition in the city. No one doubts that it will be a hard fight against a ruthless, cynical multinational like Ford. But it's a fight that Coventry workers can't duck.

Dave Griffiths and Bill Mullins

The city has faced closure after closure, now thousands of council workers face wage cuts as the council bosses introduce new pay gradings under the infamous 'single status' deal. Whilst many people are angry and therefore frustrated the fact is we just can't tolerate any more.

Ford have told Jaguar workers that there is no alternative to accepting the closure of the plant, yet on the streets there is a mood of: "We will not accept this and we want to do something about it". Socialist Party members on street stalls have continually been asked: "What can be done and how do we go about it?".

Ford have this well-planned. They've given no figures, no justification for their decision, probably because Brown's Lane is the most productive plant in the Ford empire. They made the announcement on a Friday when all the workers were at home as individuals and couldn't take action. They've already sent figures out telling workers what pensions they're entitled to. They're offering lots of money to try to get people to leave.

Stand up and fight

But the decision by the workers to stand up and fight is welcome. Now we must turn this decision into action.

At the Labour Party conference, Tony Woodley, the general secretary of the main union at Jaguar, the TGWU, lambasted Ford's broken promises.

He accused the bosses of being dishonourable and ignoring all agreements. He pointed out that Ford could not have done this in Europe or in North America because to make this announcement without consultation with the workforce would have been illegal.

He swore that the union would not accept the closure and would fight back against the Ford bosses.

Local Labour MP Bob Ainsworth seems shell-shocked at the treatment he had from the Ford European bosses when he lobbied them at the recent Paris motor show. "They told me the decision was made and that that it was not the company ethos to explain the financial reasons behind it". He called for the company to: "Share the financial reasons behind the decisions". Another way of saying: "Open the books".

The Jaguar workers will rightly say to the union leaders: "It's good that you want to fight - now put your words into action". But Woodley, like the others, seems to think that it is mainly a case of bringing Ford back to the negotiating table to: "See sense".

But it will take more than talking to force the Ford bosses to abandon their plans. It will take a determined and militant leadership that enthuses its members, if the necessary serious and determined struggle is to be won.

Comparisons have been made with what happened in Birmingham with the threatened closure of the Longbridge plant in 1999. Before he became general secretary, Woodley led the campaign to keep the plant open.

Good capitalists?

But instead of calling for Longbridge to be taken back into public ownership by the Labour government, he convinced the people of Birmingham that he had found a bunch of "good capitalists" who would take over the plant from BMW.

Unfortunately these "good capitalists" have been revealed as nothing less than asset-strippers as they made millions from land deals and other financial jiggery- pokery.

The same fate awaits Jaguar workers in Coventry unless the union leaders raise the demand now that the government renationalise Jaguar. The other parts of Jaguar, Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and Whitely Research in Coventry know that their days could be numbered as well. They would also respond to a call for the re-nationalisation of the whole Jaguar group.

But not just them either, Land Rover in Solihull is part of the same "premier auto group" as Ford call it, along with Jaguar and Volvo. They were threatened with closure not so long ago unless they accepted new working practices including video cameras over their workstations.

Land Rover workers were told they had to reach the same level of productivity as the Jaguar workers, who were praised as the most productive plant in the Ford empire!

Ford is a huge company making huge profits. It has got the biggest cash mountain of any company in the world, something over $20 billion. Its mismanagement and lack of investment are the primary reasons for the crisis today. The Socialist Party says: "Why should workers be left to pay the bill?"

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


In The Socialist 2 October 2004:

Out Of Touch!

Vote 'Yes': Strike Back Against Job Losses

City-Wide Movement To Save Decent Jobs

Fighting Back In Coventry

Unite Against The Jobs Massacre

Bosses Think Minimum Wage Too High

Time For A New Workers' Party

The Other parties of Big Business...

Students Sign Up for Socialism


International socialist news and analysis

Socialist Alternative Win Two Council Seats in Germany

Health Workers in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Gear-Up For Elections

Oil Prices Break $50 A Barrel Mark


Socialist Party news and analysis

Open Letter To Sacked Liverpool Dockers

New ASBOs Powers Won't Work

Industrial Action Threatened Over Council Pensions

ASLEF: The Battle Continues


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 October 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Coventry:

triangleCoventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleWho's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

triangleCoventry: march following racist police killing

triangleHousing safety campaign kicks off in Coventry

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

Jaguar:

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

triangleCar industry bailout plan

Birmingham:

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

13/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

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

Housing

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

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

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

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