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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
'Good start' to Jaguar campaign
By Kate Fisher
BBC WM reporter in Paris

Jaguar XK sports car
The group felt their campaign has started well
Jaguar workers, union leaders and MPs began the long journey to Paris at first light on Wednesday full of hope their trip would make a difference.

It took six hours to travel by train but they felt the protest, over the end of Jaguar production at Coventry, outside the Paris Motor Show had touched a nerve.

On their placards the familiar Jaguar logo had been adjusted.

Uncle Sam, the famous American symbol, had a top hat with Ford written on it, a dagger in one hand and a bleeding heart in the other.

Worldwide profile

Their message was that they believe Ford is ripping the heart out of Jaguar.

The Paris Motor Show does not officially start until Friday but the group felt their campaign had got off to a good start as they made their point outside the launch of new Ford Focus models.

This attracted busloads of journalists and TV crews from as far afield as Russia and Australia and the delegation feels their profile has been raised around the world for the first time.

As more people arrived the protest became busier.

The placards, vests and leaflets outside the Theatre de l'empire all had the same message and it was written in French so it could be understood.

"Jaguar workers fight for the future".

Or "Les ouvriers de Jaguar se battre pour l'avenir".

'No debate'

By the end the six workers, two Coventry MPs, Bob Ainsworth and Jim Cunningham, and a union official were tired but pleased that the two hour-long protest had been a profitable exercise.

The Executive Vice President of Ford Europe, Mark Fields, agreed to meet the MPs.

He still says there will be no debate over the decision to end production at Jaguar's Browns Lane plant.

But the group were pleased to have got their point across and they had made it in a civilised manner.

All this happened ironically on 'car free day' in Paris when people are encouraged to leave their vehicles at home.




SEE ALSO:
Jaguar workers to vote on strike
20 Sep 04  |  Business
End of car production 'a tragedy'
17 Sep 04  |  England


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