UNION members launched their fight last night to save Ford's Swaythling plant from oblivion.

An emergency meeting by Southampton and South West Hampshire Trade Union Council (TUC) resolved to step up their fight to persuade Ford to reverse its decision to ditch the factory in July.

President of the TUC in Southampton Bobby Noyes said afterwards: “There is pressure that can be brought on Ford. The Government can do something towards it like taking back money that they gave them.

“We still need Transit vans and we should not be importing them from a foreign country.”

A public meeting will now be organised, inviting national union bosses, business leaders, MPs and city councillors, in a bid to forge a united front against closure.

Demonstrations in the city have also not been ruled out. Ms Noyes said: “We want to show the Ford workers that they are not alone and the people of Southampton support them.”

She also said campaigners and members wanted to keep the plant open rather than creating an enterprise zone which would chop up the closed down factory into small workshops.