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Bridgend NSSN meeting determined to fight for Ford workers
Alec Thraves, Socialist Party Wales
Rob Williams, chair of the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), addressed a very successful NSSN public meeting in Bridgend, bringing solidarity and support to the Ford workers in their efforts to keep the plant open and to retain the 1,700 jobs threatened by the proposed closure.
The 40-strong audience, including Ford workers, trade unionists and the local community stressed the devastating impact the closure would have, not just in Bridgend but across South Wales as many workers have been transferred to the plant from previously closed Ford factories.
The idea that a Welsh government 'task force' could find equivalent job opportunities for those made redundant was laughed at by locals who know there are no such well-paid, skilled jobs on offer as manufacturing in South Wales has been decimated over the years. 'Once these jobs have gone that's it' said several speakers.
Ford are dangling a big redundancy package in front of the workforce in an attempt to divide those reaching retirement age and the younger workers who would see even a relatively big payment disappear in just a few years.
But Rob emphasised that to defeat a giant multinational like Ford would require a determined leadership from the trade unions in Wales and nationally as well as in the Welsh Assembly, with the sober message that nationalisation of the Bridgend plant would be the only guarantee of saving these jobs and also defending the jobs of thousands more in the many supply industries.
When the closure of Cardiff Airport was threatened in 2013 the Welsh government forked out £52 million to bring it into public ownership. It is now making such a healthy profit that the Tories want to privatise it again!
As one audience member commented: "Yes, perhaps it is on a bigger scale but at least do the same to save Ford jobs and get a Corbyn government to commit to nationalising it fully when it comes to power."
There was unanimous support to urge the trade union leaders to call a solidarity demonstration as soon as possible so that the Bridgend Ford workers know that the trade union movement, the communities across South Wales and workers across the country will be behind their struggle to save their jobs and livelihoods.
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