Next year Ford is forecast to become the most profitable company in the world. Nobody can say the company hasnt any money in the bank. In fact it owns the bank!
If we vote to reject the final offer, one of two things will happen.
There will be a meeting between the trade union side and the Company to see if there is any more on offer, or the Company will refuse to meet, and there will have to be a postal ballot.
Under the anti-trade union laws this postal ballot is the real ballot. You can vote yes to accept anyhow you like (by a show of hands or in a factory ballot). But you can only vote No, and enforce that rejection with strike action, in a postal ballot.
If we then vote to strike, one of two things will again happen.
There will be a meeting with the company where there will be an improved offer, or there will be a strike.
The fainthearted say that we will have to be on strike for months before the Company will budge. But in 1988 we were on strike for only one week and Ford of Europe was brought to a halt.
The new technology, the just-in-time method of work, the cost-saving of having no stockpile gives strikers the advantage of bringing the Company to its knees very quickly.
In the fiercely competitive global motor industry it is unlikely that Fords would take the risk of a major stoppage at this time.
- Looking at the money, it is a low wage rise for the next three years. Ford has been after a three-year deal for 15 years. Now they have the unions recommending to accept it. Ford pays low rises and the union bureaucrats get their union dues. We should reject the three-year deal.
The guarantees in the second and third years are based on the rate of inflation (RPI). Labour denounced the Conservatives when they altered the calculation of inflation by removing mortgages, rents and housing costs because this was false. Now Labour is using the same trick.
So the three-year deal would not even keep our head above water. Its a sinking rise! Tony Woodley has told us we are per week behind Jaguar, and Jaguar is now part of the Family of Ford. Next year Jaguar goes in for a wage rise. With a sinking rise we will never catch up on Jaguar. We will remain among the lowest paid car workers.
- Our demand for a 30-years-and-out pension has been rejected. A number of small improvements in pensions have been made, but with some nasty deductions. Ford is after all one of the trickiest car salesmen in the world! We must read the small print.
- The reduction in the working week to 37.5 hours is welcome and is long overdue. We must now press hard for a 35 hour week in line with the best in the car industry. At the same time we must fight Fords claw-back to increase productivity at our expense. We deserve a cut in working hours at their expense.
- The alterations to the Work Standards Agreement cannot be divorced from the shorter working week. These remove all safeguards and allow Ford to re-time and speed up any job at any time. This is totally unacceptable to line workers. This will crash us through the 100 per cent.
- The bonuses to stop people going sick are nonsense and another reason for rejection. No one will receive a penny from this, and the idea of pressurising people who are genuinely sick is against human rights!
- The question of employing more temporary labour on three-month contracts is also against human rights. If we dont look after our fellow working people, who will do so? It seems that the present union leadership has given up caring about the working class.
- In addition our demand for the Halewood Redundancy terms to be written into the blue book has been rejected. The Labour government has again failed us. We remain the cheapest option for plant closures in Europe. It is vital that we defend ourselves by making it too expensive for Ford to close us down.
- Any group that stands up to fight for justice should receive our support. The Toolroom workers deserve the opportunity to earn the extra allowance.
- Historically when all Ford workers stand up to fight for their rights, we punch a hole in the wage block that inspires other working people to follow through. In that way we help to raise the standard of living of all working people. If we accept a low rise, we help to keep everybody down.
One Week in 88 Doubled the Offer
We Can Do It Again in 99!