The Socialist

The Socialist 12 July 2017

This bosses' government must go

The Socialist issue 956

This bosses' government must go


Grenfell stitch-up: unions should call independent inquiry

G20 betrays refugees created by its own policies


Striking Barts health workers show 'fighting trade unionism'


Vote for action to save Ford plant

Low-paid cabin crew protest during 16-day stoppage

Wales: DWP announces office closures and job losses

BMA doctor's union in shift to left at conference

Strike against driver-only operated trains continues

Durham TAs reject council's pay offer


The left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate


July Days 1917: battles with counterrevolution


Lots of discussions at the Miners Gala on the way forward

The Socialist spring offensive

Southampton Labour must reverse council cuts

Waltham Forest - fighting school cuts

Fighting corporate takeover at London Pride

Chingford: Corbyn attacks pay freeze during tour


Huddersfield parties in the park to save hospital A&E

Save Glenfield heart centre

Leeds campaigns to save NHS on its 69th birthday


School students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

PO Box 24697, London, E11 1YD

020 8988 8777

editors@socialistparty.org.uk

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/956/25816

Seach this siteSearch the site

Printable versionPrintable version

Facebook

Twitter

Home   |   The Socialist 12 July 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Vote for action to save Bridgend Ford plant

Ford plans to 'run down' its plant at Bridgend, south Wales, photo Mike Mozart (Creative Commons)

Ford plans to 'run down' its plant at Bridgend, south Wales, photo Mike Mozart (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams, Socialist Party national industrial organiser and former Visteon (ex-Ford) Unite convenor

Bridgend Ford workers will be voting on industrial action when ballot papers go out at the end of this week. They want answers.

They know that the clock is ticking and the future of the plant is on the line. The time to act is now before it is too late.

This struggle is one of the most important in south Wales for years and is as crucial to retaining Welsh manufacturing as the fight to save Port Talbot steelworks last year. It is absolutely vital that the whole Welsh trade union movement gives full support and solidarity to the Ford unions and their members, who could be on strike as early as August.

Back in February, general union Unite alerted its members in the factory that Ford's sourcing plans going forward would mean that 1,160 out of 1,800 jobs would be lost - putting the viability of the engine plant in doubt.

Correctly, Unite told Ford that if it didn't change its plans, or at least enter serious talks, the union would consult members on balloting for industrial action.

However, in the meantime - after being provoked by management, who stopped union notices going onto the shop floor - members stopped working overtime.

This was always meant to send a signal to the company that members are serious and it can't be 'business as usual' while the shadow of doubt hangs over the plant. This has been reinforced by the indicative ballot result.

Just as happened with the coal and steel industries when they contracted, Bridgend has become the Ford plant of last resort. So there will be workers from the plant who transferred from the closed factories in Treforest, Swansea and Southampton, who know very well about Ford's ruthlessness.

The main lesson of these closures is that the time to take action to put pressure on Ford to change its plans is when you are making products that Ford needs. We therefore welcome the recent letter from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, updating members on developments and committing the union to an official industrial action ballot.

But support has to be built for it to ensure that the higher voting thresholds set by the Tories' latest Trade Union Act are overcome. It is a scandal that a Conservative government that couldn't win a majority in the election is able to impose undemocratic restrictions on workers, especially those who are fighting for their livelihoods.

This week, in the run-up to ballot papers going out, there need to be plant meetings addressed by the union both from inside and outside the plant to give members confidence to vote for action.

The biggest possible 'yes' vote and the preparedness to take the necessary action will put the maximum pressure on Ford to talk properly to the union - about committing to sourcing that will maintain the plant at its current size.

At the same time, the workforce has to send a clear message to Ford: any attempt to take out machinery will be met with an immediate stoppage. If the company tries to stop the union organising plant meetings with its own representatives and officers, the union should call them outside if necessary.

It is Ford - not the union - that has created this crisis, which has caused stress for workers and their families through its sourcing announcement.

There also has to be a national meeting of Ford convenors and shop stewards to discuss solidarity to ensure that Bridgend isn't isolated. If this plant closes, it will only make it easier to close the rest.

And pressure must be put on the Labour-led Welsh assembly government to intervene.

If necessary, it should take the plant into public ownership to keep Bridgend open and save jobs and the community. The general election showed that Jeremy Corbyn's policies for public ownership in railways, utilities and Royal Mail are popular with workers.

It's time to step up the fight to save Bridgend plant.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 10 July 2017 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.


In this issue


What we think

This bosses' government must go


Socialist Party news and analysis

Grenfell stitch-up: unions should call independent inquiry

G20 betrays refugees created by its own policies


Socialist Party feature

Striking Barts health workers show 'fighting trade unionism'


Workplace news and analysis

Vote for action to save Ford plant

Low-paid cabin crew protest during 16-day stoppage

Wales: DWP announces office closures and job losses

BMA doctor's union in shift to left at conference

Strike against driver-only operated trains continues

Durham TAs reject council's pay offer


Socialist Party feature

The left unions and the Labour Party affiliation debate


Socialist history

July Days 1917: battles with counterrevolution


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lots of discussions at the Miners Gala on the way forward

The Socialist spring offensive

Southampton Labour must reverse council cuts

Waltham Forest - fighting school cuts

Fighting corporate takeover at London Pride

Chingford: Corbyn attacks pay freeze during tour


Save our NHS

Huddersfield parties in the park to save hospital A&E

Save Glenfield heart centre

Leeds campaigns to save NHS on its 69th birthday


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

School students' remarkable tribute to workers' Spanish Civil War bravery

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 July 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook