Hundreds of workers at the Ford factory in Dagenham, Essex, are to be balloted for strikes over plans to close the plant with at least 100 redundancies.
The ballot follows a workplace vote where workers voted by 81 percent to close the plans. It opens on Tuesday of next week, and could lead to strikes by early May.
Unite does not oppose the closure of the plant, but wants workers in Britain to get the same redundancy packages as Ford workers in Belgium.
A strike ballot in the car industry is welcome—if well overdue. But the union must take some of the blame for creating a race to the bottom between car workers in different countries.
It still boasts of “saving” the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port last year.
This meant offering bosses worse concessions on its members’ pay and shift patterns than workers in Germany were willing to accept. The German workers were laid off and their British counterparts were attacked too.
And Unite holds up its relationship with car bosses as an example to the rest of the economy. “The government needs to learn lessons from the automotive industry,” said assistant general secretary Tony Burke just last Friday.
Workers are stronger when they unite with their colleagues in other countries—not with bosses in their own country.
Workers should vote yes to action, and Unite must call strikes as soon as possible.