WORKERS AT Land Rover were being balloted this week after their bosses were forced to make a revised pay offer. The 8,000 workers in Solihull and Gaydon in Warwickshire have held two 24-hour strikes supported by mass pickets.
Land Rover, which is owned by Ford, came up with the new deal after meeting with the workers' unions, the TGWU, Amicus and GMB, last week. They have removed a key phrase that workers saw as an attack on union organisation. It referred to Land Rover wanting to 'implement' changes.
'They have now taken out the most contentious part, the bit that was about our right to negotiate as a union body,' one worker told Socialist Worker. There was a wide discussion about the new offer among the union stewards last week. As the worker explained, 'There is still no movement on the 6.5 percent pay rise, and then there are the changes they want to working practices. There is still ill feeling at how the company tried to bring the changes in. We've bent and buckled over the years, and people know they want to use us to set what happens across the Ford group. A lot of people believe we've got this far already and that was just through one-day strikes. Many of the stewards felt that we've got this momentum going, why stop here?'
The stewards' meeting eventually decided not to put a recommendation to the workers when they vote on the offer. Ford are on the retreat. They can be forced back even more by a no vote and more action.