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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 December 2008

South Wales

Fighting the threatened closure of Hoover factory

Over 300 jobs are at risk in South Wales, as management at the Hoover washing machine and tumble dryer factory in Merthyr Tydfil warned it could no longer produce "competitively priced" products.

Vic Jenkins

Hoover can be saved, but we need to look at the plants that have actually fought closure and won, to develop a strategy to save it. What trade unionists at Tower Colliery and Ford Visteon (now Linamar) in Swansea have in common is that when they were threatened with closure, they didn't let the bosses set the agenda.

Shop stewards - with the full support of members - immediately got the bosses on the back foot with an aggressive fight for jobs. That fight made it easier for the bosses to keep the workplace open than to close it.

Some stewards at Hoover are talking about a publicity campaign to make both their own members and the public aware that the plant is a viable concern. Yes, it's possible to make the goods more cheaply in China, but the company is just being greedy. They can make a profit keeping the jobs in South Wales. Stewards should demand that Hoover open the books.

Some stewards have also said they'd like to take a leaf out of Visteon's book and tell the company they will not allow them to take equipment out of the plant. That kind of uncompromising position could give Hoover pause for thought. At this stage, they say they are only "considering" closure. That suggests that they are looking to see what the response will be before they make a move.

There is huge public support for the fight to save jobs at Hoover. Those jobs are seen as the property of the people of Merthyr and the valleys. Generations have worked there. So, the potential is there to build a massive campaign of public support. And working class people no longer believe that the government can't get involved to save jobs.

We've seen billions poured into saving the banks. Now, everyone is saying, "If the government can save banks, it can save jobs". Why should they only bail out the millionaires?

For the moment, if the stewards were to call for a massive march through Merthyr - the Saturday before Christmas or first thing in the new year - that call would get a big response from the trade unions. It would also get a big response from ordinary working-class people across the valleys - not least those with jobs under threat at other factories and workplaces.

The Socialist says:

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In The Socialist 3 December 2008:


Job losses

Fight back now against job cuts

Woolworths jobs threat

Fighting the threatened closure of Hoover factory


Environment and socialism

Our planet not their profit


Socialist Party editorial

India and Pakistan conflict

Terror mayhem strikes Mumbai


Socialist Party campaigns

Judiciary challenged over the right to protest

Building a left wing political alternative

Southampton uni students fight fees

Liverpool: mobilising against the far right

In brief


Comment

Social workers demand proper resources

Secondary education: PFI's gloss soon peels away


Socialist Party LGBT

Fighting homophobia


Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Crisis-hit capitalism fears prospect of revolution


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela elections: Chávez wins victory but opposition gains ground


Marxist analysis: history

The Isle of Man general strike 1918: Workers' power paralysed government


Socialist Party news and analysis

Help fund the alternative to big business politics

Socialist women: Looking at the past to take action today


Housing crisis

Stop the repossessions

New Labour's housing crisis


Socialist Party workplace news

Vote 'no' to BT's pension cuts

A Christmas message from the Unite leadership

Dover docks strikes

Appledore shipyard


 

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Related links:

Jobs:

triangleSupermarket's slash jobs - union fightback needed

triangleMerseyrail protest

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: The collapse of Carillion

triangleCarillion and the construction industry

triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Hoover:

triangleHoover workers march in protest at job losses

Wales:

triangleWelsh NHS crisis - we cannot go on like this

triangleRough sleeping crisis: make homes, not arrests

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Catalonia, Scotland and Wales

Merthyr:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleWales: Corbyn's left surge refutes right-wing Labour doomsayers

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