Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Saving Fords: nationalisation & alternative production

This is an experiment in constructive political cooperation.

Many members of the Pontyclun Hub will be affected if the Ford plant at Bridgend closes. I'd like to think that we can bring the thoughts of the community and those that know the plant and industry together to see if we can up with way of keeping it open.

I wrote a piece about the closure of the Crabtree and Evelyn plant in Pontyclun two years ago about how international corporations have the power to move capital around leaving broken communities behind. Ford's was one of the other plants I mentioned that was at risk.

The Welsh Government has set up a task force to look at options, the workforce is prepared to support industrial action and some have suggested nationalisation.

The problem is that the Bridgend plant produces engines as part of an international supply chain so a solution needs to be international, for example the EU being pressed to support continued production - a Ford's plant in Germany is also affected - about alternative production locally or a combination of the two.

I think it will be a tragedy for us all locally if the skills, jobs and family incomes that rely on Ford's at Bridgend are lost. With those directly employed and with those who indirectly rely on plant we could be talking about 10,000 jobs.

So here is the question: can we think of ways that alternative production perhaps coupled with alternative ownership, building on the skills available could be brought into operation? This would also need to consider investment and other support that could be aided by state institutions, such as the Welsh and UK governments and the EU. Their involvement might result in bringing in support from other sources such as research and development from universities.

One example of what I have in mind is the Lucas plan: https://notesfrombelow.org/article/bringing-back-the-lucas-plan

If there is enough interest we can set up a separate FB group.

One result of our collective suggestions is that we could make a submission to the Welsh Government task group etc.

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