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Government tells Ford to listen to unions over Jaguar dispute

The Government has stepped into the war of words between the unions and Ford over the future of the carmaker’s Jaguar plant in Coventry.

Unions Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union are in dispute with Jaguar’s parent company over its decision last week to end car production at Browns Lane with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. A union delegation took the fight to the Paris Motor Show last week to urge Ford bosses directly to rethink their decision.

Now, Patricia Hewitt, Trade and Industry Secretary, has joined in the debate.

She told the Labour Conference in Brighton yesterday: “Jaguar’s decision a week ago to halt production at Browns Lane was a huge blow to the workers – many of whom are here today. And we’re not going to turn our backs on a great British brand – and a great British workforce.

”That’s why I have told the company to sit down with workers and their unions, to listen to their proposals, and to have real discussions about how we secure the company’s future in the West Midlands.“

”We believe in partnership in the workplace. And it has got to come in the bad times as well as the good.”

But Hewitt was also full of praise for British motor manufacturing.

“When you think of British manufacturing, you think of our great automotive sector. The new Mini at Cowley – half a million cars a year; Nissan in Sunderland – the most efficient car plant in Europe; and Toyota – exporting made-in-Britain cars back to Japan,” she said.

  • A majority (63%) of Land Rover workers at the Solihull plant have voted yes to the 'road map' recently thrashed out between staff, managers and Ford officials aimed at establishing future working practices at the plant. 3,620 workers at the plant - out of a total of around 6,000 - voted to support changes that will deliver greater efficiencies and improve quality at the plant. Union Amicus welcomed the vote which it said should guarantee the future of the Ford owned plant. (

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