Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 September 2004

Workers Say -'We Won't Pay The Price'

THE TRADE unions are fighting to prevent Ford ending Jaguar car production in Coventry. If the car giant gets its way, 1,200 redundancies will be made. Ford, hoping to avoid an angry reaction, have said 400 jobs will go to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham. 300 will be offered work at Fords' Aston Martin plant. 300 will be kept on at Browns Lane working on wood veneer, but many question how long for.

The Whitley design and research centre with 2,000 workers, will still design Jaguar models say Ford. But it should be borne in mind that less than 15-20 miles away Ford has a huge design and engineering site at Gaydon, acquired when it took over Land Rover.

Jaguar performed strongly until earlier this year. So the trade unions rightly say that this is a short-term decision and "hardly a survival plan. It seriously threatens the future of Jaguar," says Amicus union leader, Derek Simpson.

The Ford bosses claim that falling American sales are responsible for the closure decision. While European sales are buoyant, US sales aren't. We're told that Jaguar is a car built with pounds but sold in dollars. As the dollar falls, so less Americans will buy them.

Ford claim last month's sales fell 38% from 6,200 to 3,850. But the year to date has seen only an 11% fall according to Ford's own figures (36,000 to 31,900). And only a few months ago, sales were "powering ahead in the USA" (Coventry Evening Telegraph, 18 September)

But currency fluctuations have hit Jaguar before, and for longer. That's why workers believe Ford is finding excuses to close the plant, and that this may be the thin end of the wedge. If there's a short-term problem then the work should be shared out throughout the company combine, without any loss in workers' pay.

One thing is for sure. It's not the workers' fault - who are producing twice as many cars with less workers - but they are always the people who pay the price when the bosses retrench.

"Cannon fodder"

An angry Tony Woodley - TGWU general secretary - used strong language saying British workers were being used "as cannon fodder to satisfy American shareholders."

But it's not the nationality of the shareholders, it's the very chaos of the capitalist market that means no stability for workers whatever efforts they make.

Improvements in productivity and quality are not enough for the Ford bosses in a globalised market where worker is pitted against worker in a race to the bottom. And this is not only happening to Ford workers but to workers particularly in the car industry and generally, to workers employed by giant corporations.

The only way to overcome this capitalist profit-driven 'anarchy' is by bringing the Ford's of this world under public ownership as part of a rational plan of production.

Where Have All The Profits Gone?

Earlier this year Ford's declared profits of $1.95 billion (1st quarter 2004), almost double that for the same period 12 months before.

In July they announced that the revenue from their global vehicle sales had increased to $36.7 billion compared to $34 billion a year earlier.

Their total worldwide income (including Ford's finance arm) in the 2nd quarter of 2004 was $42.8 billion, up from $40.7 billion in the same quarter in 2003.

At the same time their profits for the 2nd quarter 2004 had risen to $1.2 billion from $417 million in 2003.

Ford's has organised its European arm in such as way as to make it easier for them to transfer profits from company to company at the stroke of a computer keyboard. Jaguar has been coupled with LandRover and Volvo along with Aston Martin into a separate "premier auto group".

This makes it easier for Ford's to play off the European arm against the American arm and to play off Jaguar workers against LandRover workers. They do this primarily by "price transfer", whereby one arm of Ford's sell parts to another arm of Ford's at a discount price. It means the receiving plants can announce even bigger profits whilst the supplying plants announce losses. This is done mainly for tax purposes where one country's tax rates may be higher than another. But this "price transfer" can also be used to falsely reduce profits in a company like Jaguar to put pressure on the workers to increase productivity.

Multinational companies have a long record of fiddling the figures. That's why the unions should demand that the company accounts be investigated to establish the real situation.

New Labour - No Future

LOCAL MPs complain about the closure but seem paralysed when it comes to actually doing anything.

These New Labour MPs have no answer because they believe 'market forces' cannot be controlled. Coventry City Council and Jaguar are working to create a science and business park at Browns Lane.

It has already been given planning permission! But the Council should be putting its energy into fighting to save the plant before they bury it!

We hear much from Labour and now Tory council leaders that Coventry is rising like a phoenix from the "bombed, ugly buildings, declining car industry" "ghost town" years. Expensive developments for "wealthy, aspirational Warwickshire people" and turning Coventry into a commuter town for London are presented as the future.

Do the council and main parties imagine that a few hundred wannabe yuppies will save the situation with former skilled workers as their shoe-shines?

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 25 September 2004:

Strike Back At Jobs Massacre

Anger Grows At Job Cuts

Uniting To Fight New Labour's Cuts

Fight The Bosses' Closure Plan at Jaguar

Workers Say -'We Won't Pay The Price'

Wembley Workers - A Victory For The Trade Unions

New Labour - It's Big 'Business As Usual'

International socialist news and analysis

Iraq - A Brutal War, Whatever The Label

ESF - A Socialist World Is Possible

Biggest Public Sector Strike In South Africa's History

Socialist Party news and analysis

Don't Trust Government To Stop BNP

Young People Demand Proper Facilities

Lurid Headlines Hide The Facts of Fathers4Justice

Prostitution: The Debate Continues


Home   |   The Socialist 25 September 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

triangleCar industry bailout plan


triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleVote for action to save Ford plant

triangleBridgend Ford overtime stoppage in sourcing dispute

trianglePrecise, visceral account of working class heroism


triangleContinuing the fighting tradition of working class women

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

triangleCoventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people


triangleHomes for All - Not billionaire profit!

trianglePassing the council cuts test

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Homes for All - Not billionaire profit!



School strikes against academy management



Hands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review



Refugee Rights to be launched in Manchester



Over 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march


Socialist Party

Why I joined: 'The Socialist Party is at the forefront of defending Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership'


Socialist Party

Past fund-raising campaigns show dedication to the fight for socialism


May Day

Ideas matter: help us fight to win with May Day greetings



Refugees march against racism and to demand rights



Unions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital



Hull college workers ballot for action against mass redundancies



Strikers and parents rally again in Newham against academies



Hinkley workers win back unpaid wages after sit-in protest



UCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action



Walkout from undercover policing inquiry

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018