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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 December 2008

Militant response needed to save jobs

Workers at the ex-Visteon plant in Swansea are reeling at the shock announcement that the new owners, Canadian company Linamar, are 'offering' 200 voluntary redundancies to the workforce. This would reduce the workforce by 60%!
Despite management's words that it would make the plant 'leaner' and presumably 'fitter', it would raise doubts over the future viability of the plant. Unite convenor Rob Williams spoke to Alec Thraves (in a personal capacity).

"Linamar told us in July when they took us over, that their purchase would secure the plant. Yet less than six months later we are facing this carnage. If they get the volunteers, there would be just over 100 shopfloor workers left!

Linamar are using the excuse of the credit crunch and the recession to explain the need for these job losses. What they are not saying is that at least 40 of these jobs, making cross-car transmission boxes, are being lost because they are taking work out of the plant and moving it to their Mexico plant.

There is absolutely no justification for this other than making more profits. We can't accept this logic and will be consulting our members about taking industrial action to stop them breaking this sourcing agreement. In any case, if the company turn to compulsory redundancies, if they don't get enough volunteers, this would trigger an immediate ballot.

Even if we accept that the recession is delaying the promised new work, replacing that which has ended, we can't just shrug our shoulders and accept redundancies.

The bosses at Northern Rock and the other banks didn't. They were nationalised to save the financial system. Why can't factories who face closure or large redundancies be taken into public ownership to save jobs?

For a start, the cross-car product has to stay. Then, any so-called surplus employees should stay to share out the work on a rota basis if necessary or be allowed to re-train.

The Welsh Assembly government has just issued direction that companies should re-train staff rather than lay them off or sack them.

If this is the case, the workers should continue to be paid by Linamar or the government. It could cost Linamar up to 10 million to make 200 workers redundant. That money should be used to invest in the plant and keep workers in a job rather than bribe them to give up their jobs.

The stewards' committee and the workforce will be discussing how to fight back against these proposed job cuts. However, we have already sent Linamar the message that we won't be rolling over and accepting defeat.

We have fought every attack on us over the last three and a half years, from our contracts to our jobs. We need to build on this to keep our jobs and win a long-term future for the plant."

The shop stewards committee has organised a public meeting in Swansea to oppose the job cuts: "No job cuts! No outsourcing of work!" - Dolphin Hotel (opposite Primark), 7.30pm, Tuesday 16 December, speakers include Rob Williams (Unite convenor), Brian Gibbon (Welsh Assembly member), Andy Richards (Unite regional secretary) invited.

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In The Socialist 10 December 2008:

Stop job cuts

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our NHS

International socialist news and analysis

Greece in widespread revolt

Queen's rep suspends Canada's parliament

Chicago workers occupy factory

Socialist Party editorial

Welfare 'reform' - fight these attacks

Crisis loans

Socialist Party campaigns

Usdaw presidential election - support Robbie!

DNA evidence - Labour's draconian laws...

Jean Charles de Menezes Coroner restricts inquest verdict

Lewisham's Greens and the BNP 'supporters list'

Education fightback

Student struggle in Spain - time of revolt

60,000 march against education cuts in Dublin

Wales - the true extent of student debt exposed

Workplace news and analysis

PCS gains steps towards settlement

Militant response needed at ex-Visteon plant to save jobs

South Wales job losses

The National Shop Stewards Network is organising a meeting for car workers and those in ancillary industries:

Unite against university attacks

Hospital trust offers pay cuts for Christmas

In brief

Environment and socialism

Water - essential of life or blue gold?

Socialist Party review

Socialism and left unity - a critique of the Socialist Workers Party


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