THE Transport and General Workers Union Biennial Delegate Conference in Brighton yesterday heard a call for the nationalisation of Jaguar and Land Rover to save jobs.
Speaking in support of the Emergency Supplementary Report of the General Executive Council – Jaguar/Land Rover, Welsh delegate Rob Williams said: ‘The next stage of the Ford campaign is to send 14,000 workers to the vultures of private equity, including 70 workers at my plant.’
Williams, who works at Visteon engine and components manufacturer for Jaguar/Land Rover, continued: ‘There is a new stage in the manufacturers’ counter-offensive.
‘Private equity means sackings and cuts.
‘We’re not going to let them sell our members out.
‘We need support. We need to call a shop stewards meeting to decide a strategy, including industrial action to defend our jobs.
‘We need to send a message to Gordon Brown: we demand they abandon their non-interventionist policy.
‘If they wash their hands of it, 19,000 jobs will go down the road.
‘We need to nationalise Jaguar and Land Rover to save these jobs.’
Moving the report, Dave Osborne, national organiser for the car industry, said: ‘What is happening at Ford’s is bigger than the closure of Peugeot, bigger than the demise of MG Rover.’
He added: ‘Ford is in terminal decline.
‘Their strategy is to sell-off assets to protect the American operation.
‘In the US, they are sacking 30,000 UAW workers and closing 14 plants.’
He warned Aston Martin and Volvo could be next.
Osborne slammed what he described as Ford’s ‘slash and burn’ policy.
He went on to warn against private equity ‘vultures’ who ‘slash our members’ jobs, cut costs and sell-off quickly.’
He pledged: ‘This union is not prepared to see our members subject to short-termism and corporate greed.
‘Our statement calls for government intervention if necessary.
‘What’s unreasonable about calling for protection of jobs?’
He added: ‘Why shouldn’t we examine the plans of companies and question their funding.
‘These issues are not new.
‘Who has not been affected by corporate greed or private equity?
‘Who has not seen our members cast aside?’
In the debate, Pat Doyle, Region Six, from Vauxhall, said: ‘Our workforce has been cut from 6,000 to 2,000.’
He asked: ‘Why is it easier to sack English workers – it’s cheaper.
‘We’ve gone from a 38-hour to a 40-hour week.
‘We had to make concessions because we’re easier to close.
‘We have to starve together because we haven’t got a balanced playing field.’
Larry Gaffney, Region Five, from the Gaydon vehicle research and development centre in Coventry, said: ‘Land Rover is a profitable company.
‘Jaguar is making losses because Ford has mishandled the Jaguar business.’
He added: ‘We need to mobilise our members not to grab the money and run, but to oppose any sale and to show this government that manufacturing does count.’