FORD WORKERS are not happy with management's pay and hours offer. Mass meetings were to take place at many Ford plants across the country this week where consultatative ballots were to be held. Results were expected after Socialist Worker went to press.
The offer is being recommended by union officials. But many workers can see that the deal is full of strings and should be rejected. Ford wants a three year pay deal with a one and a half hour cut in the working week to be paid for by increases in productivity. Shop stewards at the Basildon plant voted to reject the deal last week, in the face of the opposition of their union convenor.
A shop steward at Basildon says, 'We voted unanimously to reject this. The company wants temporary labour, flexible shift patterns and increases in productivity - all tied to a three year deal. The feeling is that it is totally unacceptable.' Shop stewards in Dagenham's PTA and body plants are also against the deal. At Halewood, however, shop stewards are arguing for acceptance.
'Our convenor says it's a good deal,' says a worker in the PTA at Halewood. 'Lots of people are unhappy with that, but he just saps everybody's confidence by talking about how we've got to be competitive and profitable. The cut in hours is good, but the question is what we have to do for it. We could work a 20 hour week if we are prepared to work twice as fast. That is not the point. We are already going as fast as we can. We should look to France, where a 35 hour week has just become law.'
Ford workers should kick out the deal. As a Southampton worker says, 'Ford would be getting something that in the future they could drive a coach and horses through.' And a Dagenham worker says, 'We want to make clear we're opposed to this and that the convenors who voted to accept this rubbish are way out of touch.'