Motor giant Ford announced it was closing three factories last week. The company will close its plant in Genk, Belgium, at the end of 2014, with plants in Southampton and Dagenham to be shut down next year.
Ford has demanded subsidies saying otherwise it will close plants. In Belgium it received almost £36 million in state funding in the last two years.
In Britain it received a grant as late as last week to develop a new engine. The amount is a secret, but it could be as much as £376 million.
Stephen Odell, Ford Europe CEO, said, “The proposed restructuring of our European production is a fundamental part of our plan to strengthen Ford business in Europe and return to profitable growth.”
Rohnny Champagne, regional chair of the ABVV-Metaal union in Genk, responded, “Ford management told us repeatedly not to worry. Now they have stabbed us in the back.”
A spokesperson for the Unite union called it a “betrayal”. Unions have accepted the closure and are campaigning over redundancy pay.
Motor bosses are pushing through brutal forms of exploitation to match what they have imposed in factories in the US. Earlier this year it was hailed as a “victory” when jobs were cut in Germany but not here. Now jobs are going here and in Belgium but not Spain or Turkey.
The result is ever more cars produced by ever fewer workers on ever worse conditions. It a race to the bottom that only resistance can stop.
Reballots have opened the way to bigger struggle