Socialist Worker

Car workers

by Clive Dixon, Jaguar worker
Issue No. 1932

WORKERS AT Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry have voted against strike action in their fight to keep their plant open.

Some 45 percent voted to strike in a 78 percent turnout. The reasons for the disappointing vote are numerous.

Firstly, although the unions built hard for the recent demonstration in Coventry, and both Amicus and the TGWU unions argued for a yes vote, this should have been done months earlier.

The closure was announced in September but we voted on strikes over two months later. When General Motors (GM) announced job losses in Germany, the Bochum plant walked out immediately, setting the tone for negotiations.

Secondly, owner Ford tried to buy itself out of trouble. It is forecast to make up to $10 billion profit this year, and offered generous redundancy packages.

Workers willing to transfer to Castle Bromwich in Birmingham will receive a £2,500 one-off payment. How many of these will stay for more than a year is questionable.

Thirdly, there was a lack of confidence at Browns Lane about the ability of the unions to deliver the support from other Jaguar and Ford plants in Britain.

Finally, Browns Lane workers were understandably gutted by Ford’s action and decided that they no longer wanted to work for a company that lies and breaks agreements.

The decision to close is a political one to appease US shareholders. A proud workforce has delivered everything asked of them in terms of productivity, flexibility and team working.

They were promised that this would protect their future.

It was a lie, and everyone negotiating such deals should remember the lesson of Browns Lane.

The campaign to expose Ford will go on.

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Article information

Sat 18 Dec 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1932
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