Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13509

Posted on 18 January 2012 at 13:14 GMT

Unilever strike: 'It's us that make them their money!'

"Unilever is the 18th richest company in the world. But it's us that makes them their money!"

As one private sector pension scheme after another is hacked to pieces, workers at multinational company Unilever are making a stand to defend pensions.

Following a strike of 2,500 workers last month, from 17 January thousands of Unite, Usdaw and GMB members at Unilever are taking strike action for up to 12 days.

The strike is because the company threatens to end the final salary pension scheme, leading to pension cuts of up to 40%.

Pickets at the Purfleet factory on the first strike day, warmed by cups of tea and bacon sandwiches in the drizzle, explained their anger at the company.

"You should look at the pay at the top. They're taking off us to give to them.

"Unilever is the 18th richest company in the world. CEO Paul Polman is on 54m in pay and share options. He has a chauffeur and claimed 75,000 in travel expenses last year. He's one of the highest paid bosses in the FTSE 100. But its us that makes them their money!

"For the last few years they've taken from us - bonuses, the Xmas party, Bupa payments, we've had pay freezes.

"Now there's a pay and grades review, because apparently some workers are 'too highly paid', but we know this review is not for our benefit.

"There's no problem with the pension scheme, they're just using the economic crisis as an excuse. Unilever took a pensions holiday which went on for years, and now, seven years later, suddenly there's a problem? The figures show our scheme is 92% funded, and you have to bear in mind the government changed the way the figures are reported which makes them look much worse. The scheme is robust.

"Our contributions were nearly doubled three years ago - we went from paying 4% to more than 7% - on the guarantee that would save the final salary pension."

One woman striker explained: "I've been here ten years and I'll lose 2500 a year - and that's based on the assumption of extra contributions.

"And it's only guaranteed for three years, then they could come back and move the goalposts again. Some of the guys here will lose a lot more.

"Unilever is refusing to talk. Unite and the other unions have gone to ACAS and are willing to talk but the company refuses.

"We're taking strike action over a number of days and a number of different shifts, so that there's maximum involvement and maximum impact.

"Unilever are planning to do this internationally. We're the first, and then they'll roll it out globally.

"Others are looking at what we do. Already we've heard that on the Continent the workers are not happy."

As the pickets recognised, public sector workers fighting to defend pensions are being told they should be grateful for what they've got compared with the private sector, while private sector workers are being told what they've got is too generous. "What we should do is all join up together!"

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Unilever:

triangleSocialist inbox

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleUnions cautiously welcome talks with Unilever

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleUnilever strikers condemn bosses' greed

US:

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleJoin the Orgreave Halloween rally

triangleTheresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

Strike:

triangleWorkers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

Pension:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleSet for national strike action

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

triangle18 Oct Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2