Ford Bridgend workers voting to fight plant closure at mass meetings, 12.6.19, photo by Unite Wales

Ford Bridgend workers voting to fight plant closure at mass meetings, 12.6.19, photo by Unite Wales   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Alex Wedlake, Unite Young Members national committee (personal capacity)

Following a series of mass meetings on 12 June, Unite members at the Ford plant in Bridgend decided overwhelmingly to fight the closure of the engine factory.

With over 80% of workers voting in favour of action, there is a huge mandate for the union leadership to launch a campaign to protect the jobs and skills at the plant.

The mood on the street is resolute. With hundreds of signatures already, the Socialist Party has shown that the people of Bridgend and the wider community across Wales support whatever action the workers of the plant deem necessary.

The automotive industry is in crisis. Nissan and Honda have begun to scale back operations not only in the UK but across Europe.

The electric car is emerging as a greener alternative to diesel and petrol. However it will require capital investment to repurpose existing factories and to develop existing skills to make electric cars.

Big business is pulling the plug on this investment, choosing cheaper labour markets on different continents, and abandoning loyal and skilled workforces. The Welsh government’s plan so far has been to throw subsidies at Ford with no guarantees for jobs or investment and it is now down to the workers to take action.

The current leader of Welsh Labour, Mark Drakeford, will cut his teeth during this struggle. He has already pledged to do “everything we can” to save Ford Bridgend. We say nationalise it now!

The Welsh government set a precedent when it nationalised Cardiff International Airport. The same principles apply now!

If Welsh Labour ensured the future of Ford Bridgend then it would give confidence to workers across the UK from Swindon to Sunderland to take action to bring the decay of UK manufacturing to an end.

John McDonnell could promise striking workers that if a general election was forced due to workers’ struggle, and Labour were to take power, that money would be made available to modernise a failing industry.

With the Tories on the brink and no one at the helm, if we fight, we can win. Solidarity to the Ford plant workers!

  • National Shop Stewards Network meeting: Monday 24 June, 7.30pm at the Bridgend YMCA, Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4AD