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14 July 2010
Swansea Linamar plant: Reluctant vote for redundancy
Workers at the Linamar car parts plant in Swansea voted overwhelmingly to reluctantly accept the company's closure terms, at a mass meeting on Monday 12 July.
The terms will bring an end to 45 years of car parts production in the plant under Ford, Visteon and Linamar ownership.
It could cost the Canadian company as much as £11 million to close the plant they have owned since July 2008 and put the 208 workers on the dole.
This deal, among the highest in the whole of the car industry, is testament to the continuous struggle of the workforce against both Visteon and Linamar's attacks on jobs, terms and conditions and pensions over the last five years, as well as last year's successful reinstatement of sacked Unite convenor, Socialist Party member Rob Williams.
It proved impossible to convince the stewards and the workers that it was possible to stop the closure.
They felt that it was too much of a risk to put the enhanced redundancy on the line as Linamar had made it clear that the deal would have been taken away if there was any industrial action.
No doubt the reduced number of workers in the plant was also a factor. Workers understood the scale of action that would have been necessary to achieve a victory.
Socialist Party members argued for a rejection of the deal and for a strike ballot. This would have been used to raise the idea of an occupation. It would also be necessary to appeal for workers at Swansea's customer plants for its promised new work, the Ford engine plants in Bridgend and Dagenham, not to touch Linamar work.
Unfortunately, but understandably, this was rejected, and the plant is expected to close before Christmas.
The stewards were given a massive ovation by the workforce at the end of the meeting. As Rob Williams told the meeting: "We can hold our heads up high."
We will carry further material over the next few weeks on the lessons of the experiences at the Swansea Visteon/Linamar plant.
Alec Thraves, Swansea Socialist Party
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