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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 February 2009

Fight for jobs at Ford

Short-time working at Ford Dagenham has been a hard blow to take for the 5,000 workers at the east London plant. Temporary workers were sacked before Christmas. Shift work has been cut back. The announcement that between 500 and 800 jobs are under threat at the Transit plant in Southampton fuelled concern that Dagenham workers could be next.

Manny Thain

One problem, of course, is that the workers are always the last to know, kept in the dark by management secrecy. But the news on 5 February that Ford will not sanction the national pay deal agreed last November has sparked an angry response.

Most people now agree that we are in the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Such an extreme situation requires drastic measures. It is not enough for ministers to offer loans or subsidies to company directors. Long-term solutions have to be found.

If the Ford Motor Company claims it can't afford to keep the workers on full pay, then it should be nationalised, and the books opened to show where the profits and human resources have been squandered. The workers' skills should belong to society as a whole not to individual bosses.

If there is no immediate need for the goods currently produced at Dagenham, production lines should be modified to produce other useful goods. During the second world war, factory production was shifted almost overnight towards munitions and combat vehicles.

Plan of production

In today's crisis, similar resolve and ingenuity has to be turned towards developing skills and keeping people in employment, with the workers involved in drawing up a plan of maintenance and production, based on the wider needs of society.

Today's Dagenham workforce, in body stamping and diesel engine production, is all that remains of what used to be Europe's largest car factory, employing up to 25,000 workers in its heyday. These workers are the lifeblood of Dagenham, crucial to the wider east London economy.

If they were to go, along with thousands of sub-contractors and ancillary staff, an already impoverished area would be dealt a body blow. No one knows what senior management's plans are, except that they are dominated by the drive to make money. The fight for jobs at the factory, on the other hand, is the concern of every working-class person in east London.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 11 February 2009:

Bankers' bonuses - daylight robbery!

Vendetta continues against socialist fighter

JCB owner - still shovelling in the cash


Construction workers

Lindsey oil refinery strike: Workers score important victory

Construction workers' battle to defend jobs and conditions

Welcome to the JIB!

Motherwell Bridge bosses declare war on striking workers

Stop GSK job cuts


Socialist Party youth and students

Defend youth services

College students - keen to fight back

Save Charlotte Turner school!


Socialist Party campaigns

Tyneside Metro: Workers' action to stop privatisation

Carbon trading crisis creates bonanza for polluting firms

Exeter: Mobilising to stop the far right

Fast news


Car workers

Fight for jobs at Ford

Car industry in crisis - national meeting


Socialist Party workplace news

Wirral cuts: We need a new party

Victory for Salford Unison

Defend jobs at Salford University

Usdaw presidential election

Protest against the Unison witch-hunt

Greenwich council: An injury to one is an injury to all


International socialist news and analysis

Nationalise Waterford Crystal!

United Socialist Party members remanded on trumped-up charges


Socialist Party review

Slumdog Millionaire


Football

Reclaim the game


 

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Related links:

Ford:

triangleRatcliffe rats on Bridgend workers

triangleAusterity anger feeds movement for Welsh independence

triangleNSSN meeting determined to fight for Ford workers

triangleFord Bridgend workers vote to fight to save threatened plant

triangleWales NSSN: Support the Ford Bridgend workers - No Closure

Jobs:

triangleJobs, training, pay, we want a future!

triangleNo Covid penalty on our future

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Real jobs and training for youth

triangleAfter Scottish government U-turn, Young Socialists fight for a future on A-Level results day

Dagenham:

triangleNHS marches in Yorkshire and London

triangleKing George A&E faces closure again

triangle'Made in Dagenham' Ford machinists pay strike 50 years on

London:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Tories in Crisis

triangleLondon bus drivers begin strike ballot over remote sign-on dispute

Pay:

triangleNHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

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