Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/706/13916
Support the workers at MMP packaging
Workers at the Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) plant in Bootle, Merseyside occupied their factory from noon on 18 February, following a management lockout after redundancy talks broke down. A number of strikes had already taken place in the previous weeks over the company's unfair redundancy selection procedures and worsened severance terms. MMP is part of a multinational based in Austria which had profits of about £80 million last year.
The Bootle plant is threatened with job losses after the loss of a big contract with Kellogg's.
Unite had already made concessions to save 12 jobs at the plant. Workers pointed out that they have already agreed to expect cuts in pay of between £1,000-£2,000 over the year. But clearly the MMP bosses want more.
MMP management actions have angered the workforce. When the ballot for official action was held, the vote was about 90% in favour!
About 40 workers entered the site at 11.30am on 18 February, telling MMP bosses that nothing would move in or out of the site until employers met with their Unite union representatives for emergency negotiations. The unofficial action followed official strike action the previous day against 37 redundancies at the firm. Employees went on strike, holding a demonstration on site. MMP bosses responded aggressively, by locking out the workers, the first lockout in the print and packaging industry since 1958, according to Unite.
Their union Unite called for a mass protest for Monday morning, 20 February. Within hours management at MMP agreed to talk with Unite officials and the occupation was suspended.
At a gate meeting, nearly 100 workers heard stewards announce that the MMP workers in Deeside have agreed to ballot for industrial action and join with their Bootle brothers and sisters. Messages of support had come from MMP New Zealand, as well as from the European plants in Austria and Germany.
The next scheduled action is planned for Wednesday 22 February, which is to be a two-hour strike around noon.
- Please send messages of support to Unite FOC Phil Potter firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send cheques to the hardship fund made payable to 'Sogat Progress Fund' to: Phil Morgan, Unite the Union, 2 Chantry Court, Forge Street, Crewe, Cheshire CW1 2DL, tel: 01270 500 240
- Visit the picket line, every day from 9.30am, Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP), Dunnings Bridge Rd, Bootle, L30 6TR
In The Socialist 22 February 2012:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Reviews and readers' comments