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Ford workers demand answers to Bridgend plant sourcing questions
Rob Williams, former Swansea plant convenor and National Shop Stewards Network chair
Ford workers in Bridgend, south Wales, want answers to the lack of sourcing which is putting the whole future of the Bridgend engine plant in doubt.
When the sourcing plans came out for UK plants, there was investment announced for Dagenham, Halewood and Dunton but there is virtual silence for Bridgend. Two contracts at the plant are finishing soon, while new projections for production of the Dragon engine have been cut in half.
Ford is saying that the 1,850 jobs are 'unaffected' but workers aren't stupid, they know that sourcing for engines has to be secured immediately.
Workers in Swansea and Southampton know what it's like when Ford lets a plant die. All of a sudden they become vague about future plans. The union is correct to demand answers now. In 2000 there were over 50,000 workers employed in Ford UK, now there are just around 10,000! It's clear what the trajectory is.
Unless the company confirms sourcing that maintains the present workforce on nationally agreed pay, terms and conditions and pensions, the unions must build a campaign for industrial action. But it must be national - the closures happened when plants were left isolated. If Bridgend closes, it will mean the other plants are left in a weaker position and closer to the end.
Alongside Port Talbot steelworks, this plant is absolutely crucial to Ford workers and their families but also the communities and wider Welsh economy. Last year, a tremendous campaign made it politically impossible to close the steelworks.
The Socialist Party unapologetically called for the works to be nationalised and taken into public ownership to save the jobs. If the steel unions had built a mass campaign on that demand, linked to the threat of industrial action, it could have been achieved.
The Ford unions must put pressure on the Labour Welsh Assembly to commit to nationalisation if Ford threatens to pull out.
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