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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 March 2012

MMP workers step up action

Harry Smith

Locked out Mayr-Melnhof Packaging (MMP) workers in Merseyside have voted decisively for continued action in their dispute. 139 papers were issued in a secret ballot, following a meeting of the workforce in a nearby hotel, and 138 voted in favour of rejecting the management offer.

An agreement had been reached only weeks ago between Unite and MMP bosses to reduce the number of redundancies the firm had at first wanted - from 49 [out of a total of 149 workers] down to 37. To save the 12 jobs workers had made concessions - losing pay over the next year to the tune of between 1,000 to possibly 2,000.

The MMP 'offer' was a reversion, to not only their original demand for 49 jobs to go, but now, more to go "voluntarily" on top of those.

On the picket line workers pointed out that the loss of such numbers put a question mark over the overall viability of the plant to operate.

MMP insisted that it would not meet the previously agreed redundancy terms. This and the redundancy selection process started the dispute on 10 February. To add further insult to injury MMP managers now claim that they want to discipline up to 15 workers whom managers claim undertook 'provocative' actions around the early part of the dispute.

In anticipation of a hardening of the dispute the stewards have drawn up rotas for a 24-hour picket of the factory.

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