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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2012

Support the workers at MMP packaging

Roy Farrar

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.

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In The Socialist 22 February 2012:


Socialist Party youth and students

For real jobs - not workfare

Main parties have no solution to youth unemployment

Defend education - Join the student walkout


Socialist Party feature

What's wrong with capitalism?


International socialist news and analysis

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Kazakhstan: Defend workers' leaders


Socialist Party workplace news

Pensions: Strike on 28 March

Sparks defeat Balfours - now for total victory over BESNA!

Support the workers at MMP packaging

Tyne and Wear Metro cleaners

Organising against the cuts in Greenwich

Workplace news in brief


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Gateshead: Children's healthcare under threat

Fight homophobic Tory attacks

North West aggregate meetings

Them & Us


Reviews and readers' comments

Fans not financiers should run football

Should socialists support the proposed HS2 rail link?

Radio review - My generation


 

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