Peter Hadden Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Peter Hadden

Lessons of Ford workers’ victory

(March 1988)

From Militant, March 1988.
Transcribed and marked up by Ciaran Crossey.

The Ford strike is over but there are important lessons. By their solidarity and strength, the Ford workers achieved a significant victory. The outcome of their dispute will be an encouragement to all workers.

Despite the company’s climb-down many Ford workers are aware that more could have been achieved. This deal was accepted because it was a considerable advance on the original offer but also because Ford workers had no confidence that their national negotiators would conduct a serious fight for more.

The dispute showed that the national negotiators were totally out of touch with the shop floor. Within some of the factories, including Finaghy, the local union readership also proved out of touch with the membership.

Locally the dispute was solid, but the absence of pickets, mass meetings and bulletins to keep the members informed, showed the need to improve the union leadership and organisation in the plant.

Nationally there is a need for a shop stewards’ conference to elect a new National Joint Negotiating Committee comprised of Ford workers with full time officials present only in an advisory capacity.

The workers have won a victory. They did so despite their negotiators. The lesson for Ford workers is the need to build a Broad Left in their union and a car-workers Broad Left so that they can launch a concerted struggle to change their union and ensure that in future disputes their representatives provide the fighting leadership which is demanded.

Peter Hadden Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 30 August 2016