WORKERS AT Land Rover have voted to accept a new deal, which the company was forced to offer after two one-day strikes.
Land Rover, which is owned by Ford, rushed to make the offer after the last one-day strike. The workers had also piled on the pressure with mass pickets at the weekend to enforce an overtime ban.
They voted by 4,326 to 2,379 votes to accept Ford's new offer. One of the Land Rover workers, Dave, told Socialist Worker, 'Ford wanted to take away the unions' right to negotiate. They lost. They had to take that demand out of the deal. They had a slap in the face. However, I feel while we had the action, we should have kept going. We were knocking them sideways. They needed the cars to get out and we were on a win, win. We should have pushed and pushed. So I'm disappointed we didn't continue with the action. And the vote shows a third of people are also unhappy at the changes that Ford wants to put in. But we have won over the most contentious issue and that means there will have to be negotiation over any changes. Things are going to be different from now on.'
The third of workers-some 2,379-who voted to reject the offer show that a significant number wanted to fight on to get more out of Ford. Unfortunately officials from the two major unions, the TGWU and Amicus, did not put any recommendation to the workers in the ballot over which way to vote. But if they had taken a lead, it could have encouraged the stewards and workers to campaign for a no vote and continue the action to force Ford to retreat over pay and conditions.
The TGWU and Amicus rightly recommended to stewards and workers at the Ford plant in Aveley, Essex, to vote yes in a strike ballot to fight against 150 job losses. That helped the Aveley workers to vote for strike action by 76 percent a few weeks ago.
That dispute could become the focus for a national battle against Ford. The workers' powerful show of force during the Land Rover dispute shows there is a mood on the shop floor to stop the car bosses' attacks. That needs to be built on to develop further rank and file strength and strengthen the Aveley resistance.