Socialist Worker

March and strike to save Jag jobs

Thousands of workers will march in Coventry this Saturday in protest at the threatened closure of Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant. Jaguar worker Clive Dixon says it’s time for resistance

Issue No. 1929

FORD AND Jaguar executives have been exposed as nothing less than liars and cheats.

In 1998 the unions and Jac Nasser, Ford’s president and chief executive, signed an agreement which said, “Browns Lane will continue to be the assembly source for the large luxury saloons and sports cars.

“Replacements for these cars will be sourced to Browns Lane, which will also continue to be the source for Jaguar operations.”

In February of this year Joe Greenwell, the Jaguar chairman, confirmed to Patricia Hewitt, trade and industry secretary, that Browns Lane was safe.

And then in September Ford announced it was moving the XJ and XK production to Birmingham and sacking 1,200 workers in Coventry.

The Jaguar plant at Browns Lane is the most efficient in the Ford group.

The cuts are a short term action to appease the stockmarkets because of the losses made by the Premium Automotive Group, which includes Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo.

Ford has refused to consult with the unions, and refused to open the books so that it can justify its decision.

Ford could spend well over £100 million transferring production without gaining any increases in efficiency.

It’s not the workforce that is to blame for current losses—it’s Ford management. We must refuse to allow the workforce to pay for their mistakes.

Ford is running a campaign in its plants at the moment about its commitment to the communities where it produces cars.

It clearly doesn’t give a damn about the community in Coventry where Jaguar was born—but we do.

There is massive support for the campaign to save Browns Lane—both in the Coventry area and from fellow workers across Britain.

People have been queuing to sign the petition in Coventry city centre, Bedworth and Nuneaton.

Everyone has a story to tell and a relative who has worked at Browns Lane.

Leafleting is continuing right up to the last moment in Coventry, Birmingham and all the Ford plants.

Other unions, such as the FBU, Unison, PCS and AUT, have given support locally, and with the TGWU, Amicus and GMB representing the workforce we have the power to make a difference.

Coventry has lost too many jobs already—at Rolls-Royce, Massey Ferguson and Marconi, with more announced at Dunlop last week.

Other workers are also under attack and will join our demonstration. Fire stations are losing engines in Coventry, and many workers will be hit locally as part of the massive job cuts in the civil service.

The unions have the power to stop Ford in its tracks. The plants at Dagenham and Bridgend supply engines throughout Europe.

The Daventry foundry is also a key source of supply throughout Ford.

If these plants get involved Ford will be in trouble.

TGWU general secretary Tony Woodley says he is drawing a line in the sand with this campaign. He believes that Ford is pulling out of Jaguar, and out of Britain.

It is up to Browns Lane workers to light the fuse for the fightback by voting for action when the ballot papers arrive on 29 November.

This is no time for faint hearts, or counting the redundancy money that most Jaguar workers will never see. These are good jobs, and they need protecting for the next generation.

Ford will always try and buy off resistance with redundancy offers whatever we do.

Jag workers need to march, support industrial action and win wider support.

March with the Jaguar workers! Saturday 27 November—assemble 9.30am Millennium Square, Hale Street, Coventry Rally at Speakers Corner, next to Coventry council buildings, from 10.30am

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Sat 27 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1929
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