Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/725/14812
Workplace news in brief
On 26 and 27 June, around 40 Balfour Beatty construction workers went on strike with the intention of making the company stick to earlier promises that workers could expect a four-day weekend in return for working 17 consecutive 12 hour days.
The vast majority of workers on the northern section of the Beauly-Denny electricity transmission project in Scotland are living away from home, many having up to ten hour commutes to their homes in England, Wales and Ireland.
Under the current arrangements they are given Friday to travel, but must travel back to work on Sunday.
On 20 June, gangs on the northern section downed tools. Management said if they returned to work, an answer to the workers' demands would be given on 25 June.
But no response came. On 26 June the workers, 90% of whom were not union members, struck once more effectively bringing production to a standstill.
A democratic decision was then taken by the workers that they should withhold their labour for a second consecutive day. Messages of support came flooding in, including one from Janice Godrich, national president of the PCS.
Workers ignored the order to return to work, and later heard they had secured at least a partial victory.
The significance of this victory is that Balfour Beatty has been awarded many similar contracts in the Highlands and it is vital that any erosion of workers' conditions is nipped in the bud. Workers in the public and private sector, unionised or ununionised, should take heart from this victory.
RF Brookes workers in Leicester, members of BFAWU, the bakery workers' union, have been taking discontinuous strike action in recent weeks against a vicious management who have announced 190 redundancies.
At the same time, the firm is reneging on the previously agreed redundancy package.
Some workers, if they lose their jobs, also stand to lose thousands of pounds compensation as a result.
The factory was recently taken over by a food production company called "2 Sisters" which employs 20,000 people worldwide. The money grabbing character of the company is shown by the fact that 2 Sisters boss Baljinder Boparan, according to the Financial Times, was among the 289 involved in an 'aggressive' tax avoidance scheme.
It now appears that the company is increasing the redundancies to around 350 workers, leaving perhaps 60 engineers behind - effectively closing the factory. The Socialist Party has fully supported the action taken so far, but we think, given the new situation, it is worth considering occupying the factory in order to prevent management from removing machinery. On that basis an appeal could be made to workers in other factories in the group for solidarity action.
Bloodsucking bosses like these have to be stopped!
In The Socialist 4 July 2012:
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party LGBT
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party appeal
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party review