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Posted on 24 June 2011 at 13:53 GMT

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

Shafted By AEI cables

Elaine Brunskill, Newcastle Socialist Party

'AEI - You owe us' chanted sacked workers on a demonstration outside the factory gates of AEI cables in Birtley (Gateshead, Tyne and Wear). 126 workers, almost two fifths of the workforce, have still not received holiday pay and overtime due to them, a month after being sacked.

They have set up a facebook group: 'Shafted by AEI'.

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

The company's creditors accepted a proposal for the company to enter a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), but failed to consult with trade unions, and sacked workers have had no redundancy payments - being told they would have to get them from the government.

Bill Doyle, who is acting as an unofficial coordinator, explained that when the company entered into a CVA, the workers were issued with immediate notices to end their employment, with no redundancy money, 'We have to go through the rigmarole of fighting for it', he said.

Another worker told how they were all 'shell shocked, devastated at the way we've been treated.' He went on to say that he had been at the factory for over 20 years; 'All I got was a letter through the door, no explanation.

I'm relying on my wife's wages now - which isn't much money.' He ended by saying even Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask!

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill

AEI Cables, sacked workers protesting, June 2011, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

The local press have reported that AEI, which was bought for 14.5 million by New Delhi-based Paramount Communications in 2007, ran into difficulties as the price of copper doubled in price.

Sacked workers and the unions involved should demand that the books are opened to see where the profits have gone.

Also, workers who have been finished by AEI, alongside the workers still in employment at the factory, who also face an uncertain future, need to demand nationalisation of the company.

There was money pumped in to nationalise the banks to bail out bankers - where's the bail-out of factories such as AEI to save the jobs of working people?


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 24 June 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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