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Strike Back at Jobs threat
WITHIN WEEKS of Rover's break up and massive job losses, thousands of workers at Ford's Dagenham may now also face the axe. The combined job losses at Ford and Rover could amount to 150,000!
Tony Blair has met with Ford's European boss Jac Nasser to discuss the giant company's 'restructuring plans', clearly the writing is on the wall for Dagenham's assembly plant unless industrial action is organised.
Shipyard workers in the North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also facing the dole. 40,000 textile jobs were lost last year and 25,000 more are expected to go this year. Whole swathes of manufacturing are in deep crisis.
Ford complains of falling profits but it spent £1.8 billion buying profitable Land Rover off BMW and its got a $23.8 billion cash mountain.
Once again corporate capitalism wants to ruthlessly throw workers onto the scrap heap to satisfy the interests of a tiny number of rich shareholders.
Tony Woodley, the TGWU union's chief negotiator in the car industry, has warned of all-out strike action to prevent closure saying that Ford has reneged on its previous commitment to continue production at Dagenham. Mass meetings are also being held at Longbridge to discuss strike action.
Car workers have to pressurise the union leaders into delivering on this threat. This action needs to be linked to action throughout the car industry.
Despite thousands of job losses and major productivity concessions by the workforce over the last few years, not one penny of new investment in Dagenham has appeared.
Clearly, it's not the workers who are to blame but the profit system of capitalism. Worldwide, the car bosses are closing plants and taking each other over because of massive global overcapacity and overproduction. That is why a 'white knight' rescue takeover of Rover isn't a serious option - why produce more unsold cars?
Instead of New Labour subsidising the bosses profits; instead of spending millions on the social costs of dealing with mass redundancies, the car industry should be nationalised and run by the workers to produce the goods that society needs.
Tony Blair and trade secretary Stephen Byers say they 'can't interfere with the market' to stop workplace closures. They're the bosses' friend. Workers cannot rely on New Labour to rescue them. Only by taking industrial action like the NUT teachers union have voted for, can jobs, industry and decent services be defended.
In The Socialist 28 April 2000: