Socialist Worker

Ford workers vote in support of strikes to stop a jobs massacre in Bridgend

Workers at Ford’s Bridgend plant have voted to support strikes to stop job cuts. Now there must be a united fight to stop the attacks everywhere, writes Charlie Kimber

Issue No. 2659

Ford workers in Bridgend held mass meetings last Friday

Ford workers in Bridgend held mass meetings last Friday (Pic: @PeteHughesUnite/Twitter)


Ford workers in South Wales have shown they are ready to fight to halt the closure of the Bridgend plant.

The Unite union held a series of mass meetings with the Bridgend workforce last week. A consultative ballot took place after the meetings and 83 percent of those who voted said they were prepared to strike if necessary to save the plant.

Unite Wales regional secretary Peter Hughes said, “The consultative ballot clearly demonstrates that the workforce are not prepared to lie down and quietly accept their fate.

“They are not prepared to let Ford deliver an act of unprecedented industrial sabotage, the ramifications of which would be devastation of the Bridgend area and the Welsh automotive supply chain.”

Ford intends to close the plant by September 2020, slashing over 1,500 jobs directly and thousands more among suppliers.

Bridgend should move quickly to a formal strike ballot.

Strikes at a time of government crisis can increase the pressure for nationalisation.

If the market for cars is collapsing, why can’t Ford workers build the next generation of sustainable public transport?

The fight also needs to be spread nationally and internationally.

Ford’s other two main production plants at Dagenham in east London and Halewood on Merseyside and the large research facility in Dunton, Essex, need to be part of the fightback.

Force

Bosses have played plants off against each other to drive down wages and force through worse terms and conditions.

The battle at Bridgend has to be coordinated with resistance in Germany, where the firm has announced it plans to cut “more than 5,000 jobs” as part of a major restructuring to boost profitability. This is a huge attack on the workforce in Cologne, Aachen and Saarlouis.

Jobs in Russia are also going. Ford’s passenger vehicle production in Russia will cease by the end of this month following the closure of its car plants in Naberezhnye Chelny and Vsevolozhsk near Saint Petersburg, and an engine plant in Elabug.

These cuts demonstrate that the Bridgend closure is not about Brexit—it’s about money for the company and its shareholders.

The IG Metall union that organises German Ford workers plans a major demonstration on 29 June in Berlin.

It will call for the securing of jobs through a “restructuring of industry—socially, ecologically and democratically”.

British Ford workers should be there arguing for joint action.

Resistance at Ford could encourage others to resist mass job losses.

Analysis by the GMB union last week showed that the number of jobs at risk from the collapse of British Steel is higher than previously thought.

A fightback is urgent, and everyone should back it.


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