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24 September 2008

Workers vow to fight Ford's closure plans

Last week Ford announced to their Southampton workforce that production of the Transit van would end here in 2011 with no commitment of further production at the Swaythling plant. This is a massive blow to the Ford workers and the city as a whole.

Nick Chaffey, Southampton Socialist Party

The response to this from workers at the plant has been one of anger and determination that a massive campaign will be waged to fight for the £100 million investment needed to retool the plant for the new Transit in 2011.

The campaign of support initiated by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) has highlighted the massive profits Swaythling has made for Ford and the increases in productivity over the last 15 years.

The local paper has run stories about the campaign every night, including an exposť of the massive personal bonuses paid to the seven top Ford bosses.

On Saturday 20 September, workers queued for leaflets at our campaign stall and signed the petition of support, many had family or knew friends who work there.

Sunday evening saw more Ford workers attend a NSSN meeting including a member of the stewards' committee.

Those attending heard directly from Ford workers themselves about the need for a fight, not just to oppose the closure but to fight for the investment to build the new van.

Rob Williams brought a message of support from ex Ford workers at the Visteon plant in Swansea and their experience of fighting closure threats and attacks on pay and conditions.

The NSSN campaign has produced two leaflets which have been well received on the gate and according to one Ford worker: "ended the rule of the shop floor Stasi who prevented discussion in the plant.

"Now everyone's talking about the campaign and what we're going to do."

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