Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/701/13518
Unilever workers say hands off our pensions
Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Socialist Party
Unilever's attempt to scrap its workforce's final salary pension scheme, which will affect 5,000 workers, is being vigorously opposed. On 9 December, workers at 11 sites across the country shut down production with huge numbers taking part in the picket lines. At the Croespenmaen Pot Noodle factory in Wales, all bar one shop floor worker were present at the picket lines, with large vibrant pickets taking place elsewhere in the country.
After the demonstration outside the company's headquarters on 9 January, Unite, Usdaw and GMB called rolling action from 17 January, which will again involve 2,500 workers at sites in Purfleet, Port Sunlight, Warrington, Leeds, Crumlin, Gloucester, Manchester, Burton-on-Trent and Ewloe in Wales.
So far the company has refused to meet the unions or to go to the conciliation service Acas. Closing the scheme to new entrants in 2008 was supposed to ensure the scheme's long term future. Yet only a few years later the Unilever tops, like the Con-Dem government, are coming back for more, determined to make ordinary workers suffer at the expense of the wealthy 1%.
Future action should be co-ordinated alongside those public sector workers still fighting to defend their pensions.
The message of the unions must be clear: all workers deserve a decent pension, not the misery of pensioner poverty.
In The Socialist 18 January 2012:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis