Many of the workers fighting against Ford and Visteon were taking part in action for the first time. The experience has transformed them.
Chris Martindill had worked at the firm for over 20 years. “My grandad was a convenor at Ford Dagenham and I saw them on the picket lines when I was a kid,” he told Socialist Worker.
“I never imagined myself doing it. But somewhere along the line you have to put your foot down.
“This has changed me. Before this I would have seen the protesters at the G20, for example, as just a few people looking for a fight. But these are the people that have backed us up.”
Phil Wilson was part of the occupation at the Enfield site.
“This experience has been incredible,” he told Socialist Worker. “Every minute was worthwhile and it has changed my outlook on life.
“I’ll definitely be more aware of what’s going on in the country now. When we were sacked we had everything knocked out of us. But we’re more confident now because of what we’ve done.
“I think this has made people realise that they have a lot more potential than they thought before.
“I’d say to other workers – just stand up and be heard and fight. You can’t promise that you’ll always win financially. But you’ll be rewarded in so many ways.
“I’ve never known a situation like this before – where people who were kicked out with nothing brought a global corporation back to the table. I’m so proud that I’ve been a part of this.”
“I feel different now,” adds Levent Adnan. “It’s like we’ve been against the system. We didn’t really know what we were doing at first but we just did it.
“We made mistakes but we’ve worked together for so long that we all stuck together.
It’s been an unbelievable experience and I’ll never forget it.” Many of the workers are keen to share their experiences with others who are facing attacks on their jobs to encourage them to fight back too.
“I’ve worked here for 20 years and I’ve never been on strike,” said Ian Johnson. “But you just have to do it – what happened to us could happen to anyone. You have to stand up and be counted.
“It’s not as hard as people think. You will definitely get local support. There’s nothing to be scared of – we’d all be there to show our support.”
Rosy Sutherland agrees. “I’ve never been in this situation before,” she said. “But now I’ll be involved in helping others because people have helped us.
“Our deal means that bosses will have to think twice before chucking people out with nothing. Other workers can fight like we have.”
The struggle has made workers question many other things. Raymond Dixon from the Enfield site told Socialist Worker, “It’s been a great experience – but it also shows what’s wrong with society.”