TONY WOODLEY the TGWU leader and co-leader of the new UNITE trade union has already presided over the closure of a large chunk of the motor car industry in this country.
He helped shut down the Rover group in 2000, the Vauxhall Motors Luton plant in 2002, the Birmingham MG Rover plant in May 2005, and then Ryton Peugeot.
Woodley in May 2005 even signed up to the Board of Trade government document that announced that Labour would not provide more than a loan to keep MG open over the election period.
At Vauxhall Motors Luton he wound up the struggle just after a European Day of Action which saw German workers marching in Luton to keep the plant open, and workers striking all over Europe.
He is a serial capitulator to the bosses and to the Blair-Brown governments.
At the recent Biennial conference of the TGWU he opposed an impassioned call by delegates that Ford Land Rover and jaguar should be nationalised.
Now he has brought forward his own programme in which he demands that the TGWU and UNITE ‘must be involved in all stages of the sale’ by Ford.
Yesterday’s TGWU-UNITE statement said ‘Unions must be involved in all stages of the intended sale of Jaguar Land Rover including any final decision on who will buy the iconic British brands.
‘The demand has been made by Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Britain’s biggest trade union Unite – the union, in a letter to Lewis Booth, head of Ford Europe.
‘Referring to the potential scale of the sale as possibly dwarfing the Ford Dagenham, Vauxhall Luton and MG Rover closures combined, Mr. Woodley says “the last thing that you should consider is an auction in which the highest bidder wins, irrespective of the consequences”.’
In a five-point plan to Ford, Woodley calls for the global giant to:
‘1. Work with Unite to agree the future of Jaguar Land Rover production and development sites as well as the relevant Ford Blue Oval sites in the supply chain including the decisions on who to sell to.
2. Set out as the basis for any sale the continuation of vehicle production, design and development at the existing Jaguar Land Rover production and development sites.
‘3. Make it a condition of sale that a minimum 10 year service contract with the Ford Blue Oval and other current suppliers be agreed
‘4. Retain a sizable financial stake in any new company established to take over Jaguar Land Rover to ensure such a long term contract.
‘5. Write into the conditions of sale that existing arrangements for trade union recognition and bargaining continue and that the workforce terms and conditions of employment including current pension arrangements are protected.
‘Mr. Woodley also repeated his call for government intervention if required. “…my union will have no hesitation in calling on the UK government to directly intervene if it is necessary to ensure the long term future of manufacturing plants…,” he said in the letter.’
This is a craven capitulation to Ford. It will not have them trembling. They now know that Woodley wants to be a part of the sell off or sell out and the consequent asset stripping.
And as for not being afraid to ask the government to intervene. What a joke! Brown is the big friend of the venture capitalists who will be queuing up to asset strip Land Rover and Jaguar with his support.
Rover and Jaguar must be nationalised and Woodley must be sacked.