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NO RETREAT'- FORDS MEN Transport Union's Lead
Daily Worker Industrial Reporter
Fords shop stewards last night warmly welcomed the strong strike action lead given by the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union. A statement to be distributed at all plants in Dagenham today says that now the national officials have done the right thing for trade unionism there must be no retreat.
"Trade unionism has improved conditions and gives the member the right to complain and have his complainrrecti-fied," says the statement.
"Many conditions have deteriorated since the victimisation. The return of the 17 men can be the turning point in bringing back reasonable conditions."
What is at stake, say the shop stewards, is allowing the company to go back to the hire-and-fire days when people went to work in the morning not knowing whether they would survive the day without being sacked.
While the Ford workers said the T.G.W.U. strike decision had "electrified" the plant, Mr. John Hare, Minister of Labour, decided to call in union officials for talks today.
Representatives of 22 unions with members in Fords will meet two conciliation officers. After hearing a full report on the dispute Mr. Hare may then call for similar discussions with the management.
Many of the union leaders declare that any intervention by the Minister must be pressure on the company to reinstate the 17 victimised workers at once.
They reject arbitration and accuse the company of downright double talk when securing a resumption of work following the arbitrary dismissal of shop-steward Bill Francis last October.
The unions bitterly complain that the company recently attempted to bargain one worker against the other.
They strongly oppose the company's declaration that any steward it reinstated would not again be allowed to repre-
sent the unions in the plant. They condemn this as tantamount to demanding the withdrawal of the steward's credentials.
The stewards and their unions therefore denounce the companys attacks as the biggest challenge the British trade-union movement has faced for years.
The Halesowen (Staffs) No. 2 branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union has protested against the executive decision to ballot the union's members at Dagenham on the issue of strike action.
On the straight issue of victimisation the full support of the union's machinery should be brought to bear on the management automatically. (Daily Worker, 1963)