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Ford Bridgend closure is a warning of the need for resistance

This article is over 1 years, 3 months old
Issue 2724
Bridgend workers held mass meetings last year and backed strikes
Bridgend workers held mass meetings last year and backed strikes (Pic: @PeteHughesUnite/Twitter))

Friday of last week marked the final day of engine production at Ford’s Bridgend plant in South Wales.

It meant the end of their employment with Ford for the vast majority of the 1,700 workers on the site.

Peter Hughes, the Unite union Wales Secretary, said it was a desperately sad day “for all the Welsh workers whose employment with Ford officially ends”. He blamed Ford’s “commitment to Wales and the UK”.

Certainly the bosses have ruthlessly put profit first.

But the closure was not inevitable.

When the closure was announced in June 2019 Unite general secretary Len McCluskey slammed the decision as a “grotesque act of economic betrayal”. He said, “Ford can forget about it if it thinks we will make it easy to walk away from this workforce.

“We will resist this closure with all our might.”

Unite held a series of mass meetings with the Bridgend workforce.

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.

Two months earlier the Unite and GMB unions said all five Ford sites were “ballot ready” and would stand with any plant under threat.

But none of this was built upon to win real national resistance. As mass job losses now loom, union leaders need to be pushed for a fightback.

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