Letter: Ford dispute

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The Independent Online
Sir: Those who have been following coverage in The Independent of the recognition dispute at Ford of Dagenham, occasioned by some 300 drivers in the truck fleet transferring from the Transport & General Workers Union to URTU, may be forgiven for thinking that racism is the root cause.

In an article by Barrie Clement (11 September) you reported: "While the proportion of ethnic minority workers in the main factories at Dagenham is between 40 and 50 per cent, the proportion in the truck fleet is around 2 per cent".

The statistics are used to infer that the disparity is virtual proof of racial discrimination, whereas the low percentage of ethnic minority drivers simply reflects the proportion of ethnic minority drivers found in the LGV driver population of the UK as a whole.

Your report also signally failed to mention that the TUC Disputes Committee completely cleared URTU of any suggestion of racism, just as it also cleared them of having directly recruited TGWU members.


Head of Campaigns and


The United Road Transport Union

Strensall, Yorkshire