Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/370/6072
Support Jag workers' fight for jobs
TRADE UNIONS fighting the ending of Jaguar production in Coventry have organised a mass demonstration. It will start from Coventry's Millennium Square, by the city's motor museum at 10.30am on Saturday 27 November.
Dave Griffiths, Coventry Socialist Party
If the struggle to save Jaguar is unsuccessful, then a motor museum will be virtually all we have left of a motor industry. So it is vital that there is a big turnout from Coventry workers and trade unionists around the country.
Since the announcement to end Jag production here, more job losses are coming to light. Tony Murphy of the Amicus union said that the job cuts announced are: "Just the tip of the iceberg. We know already that the 400 wood-trimming jobs which Ford says will remain at Browns Lane are being touted around Europe. More jobs than were initially announced will go from Castle Bromwich."
Ford have tried to cover their backside about plant closures. They claim that keeping a few hundred wood veneer workers, while ending car production with 1,200 jobs losses does not amount to a plant closure! But as the touting of that work around Europe shows, that promise is not worth a jot.
The bosses are trying to deflect decisive trade union action, such as strikes and occupations against closure and/or dodge any government pressure.
This is exactly what the last major industrial employer to close down in Coventry, Massey Ferguson did. They claimed 200 jobs would be safe, got the rest of the plant closed more easily, and of course the 200 jobs soon went. The Massey's site is now designated for housing.
This mustn't happen at Jaguar. Trade union leaders have pointed out that Britain could stop building the Jag altogether. They fear that the Whitley research and development plant and another Jaguar sites are likely to close within 18 months. What would then stop Ford moving Jaguar production out of the UK?
Ford have already admitted that some jobs will go at Whitley. They haven't decided how many and when.
There is huge concern that Coventry will be left with no skilled or well-paid jobs. The local council plans to cut bin-workers wages by around £5,000 a year. A New Labour representative has pointed out that they: "No longer have to compete for labour with the car factories."
That's why the Jag workers' fight is every Coventry worker's fight.
The demonstration will mark the start of a wider fight back. As will Jaguar workers considering industrial action against this greedy multinational's plan.
Jaguar has received £80 million of public money since 1995, yet we are told it will cost £78 million to close Browns Lane.
Trade unions also have to look at the wider question of ownership of companies. As long as big multinationals can treat workforces and companies as disposable, nobody's future is secure.
Socialists will try to ensure this battle becomes part of an ongoing campaign to get rid of the system that wastes skills and productive capacity and brings insecurity to the lives of tens of thousands. A system that milks dry the labour of working people and then unceremoniously looks to dump them.
A publicly owned Jaguar could be one foundation stone of a planned socialist economy that could provide quality goods and services for the working people of this country and use the talents of its working people.
In The Socialist 13 November 2004:
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