Len McCluskey the leader of Unite, the UK's biggest union, will tomorrow (Wednesday 1 March) call upon Ford to end the agony of its Welsh workforce and commit at last to the Bridgend engine plant.
However, Len McCluskey will add, failure to provide commitments on new investment will see the workforce move one step closer to strike action in defence of their jobs.
The warning comes ahead of the Unite general secretary’s St David's Day visit to the Bridgend site where he will speak to the workforce in three mass meetings to give the union’s full backing in the fight for their future.
And in a message to Ford’s UK management, Len McCluskey says the car maker’s repeated failure to demonstrate that it has the long-term product strategy needed to sustain the plant has left the workforce increasingly fearful for their jobs.
He will demand an end to the uncertainty and call for Ford to work alongside Unite and the Welsh government to ensure a sustainable future for the world class plant which has for decades been central to its global engine strategy.
The Bridgend plant is one of Ford’s last two engine manufacturing facilities in the UK.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Len McCluskey said: “Unite members are committed to Ford, the Welsh Assembly is committed to Ford, all we need now is for Ford to commit to its workforce. That means investment, new product lines and a clear plan for the plant’s future.
“This is no more than Ford is giving its other engine plants. The uncertainty that has plagued the plant following the announcement to halve the Dragon engine programme in September must end and end now.
“For the past 35 years, the Ford engine plant has been at the heart of the Welsh economy, indeed it is one of the jewels in the crown of the Welsh economy. With some of the most skilled workers anywhere in the UK there is no reason why this plant should not continue to play a key role in Ford’s future global plans.
“This site has thrived for decades. With a collective will it can thrive for another 35 years and more, continuing to provide employment and security for workers, families and communities across South Wales.
“That is the message I am bringing to Bridgend today. These workers are world class, their product is world class – and Unite is determined to win a bright future for both.”
Len McCluskey will address the workforce in separate meetings with the three shifts of each day, inside the Ford plant, starting with the morning shift when it finishes at 13:00 hours. His last meeting will begin at 22:00 hours when the night shift clocks on. He will be joined by Unite's Welsh secretary Andy Richards.
Notes to Editors:
Media wishing to interview Len McCluskey should note that he will be available in between the second and third shifts at the plant, around 15:30 – 16:00 hours at the Waterton Business Centre next to the plant. To arrange interviews please contact Glyn Conolly on 07974 131771.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.