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Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/16065

Posted on 30 January 2013 at 17:07 GMT

Greencore workers strike for one day, 30.1.13, photo by Steve Miller

Greencore workers strike for one day, 30.1.13, photo by Steve Miller   (Click to enlarge)

Hull: Greencore workers take 24-hour strike action

500 Unite members who work at the food company Greencore in Hull have taken strike action to demand a living wage.

The company provides food for supermarkets and is part of a chain that made millions of pounds profit.

In the last few years, the workers have bent over backwards to try to help the company through difficult times by agreeing to give up some terms and conditions including shift pay, bank holiday enhancements and overtime payments for an 18 month period.

Greencore workers strike, 30.1.13, photo by Steve Miller

Greencore workers strike, 30.1.13, photo by Steve Miller   (Click to enlarge)

Their reward for being loyal is a kick in the teeth, broken promises and poverty wages.

When the 18 month period was up, management told the unions 'you'll never get your terms and conditions back'.

For the last year or so, various attempts have been made to get management to back down including negotiations and tribunals.

Ironically a tribunal found in the workers' favour but, despite having to pay damages, the company has refused to reinstate the terms and conditions.

Attempts to divide the workforce have failed. 81% voted in favour of strike action but everyone came out today.

At the same time, pay has been frozen. As shop steward Wayne Holmes said: "It's farcical when the courts say you are in the right but the company just ignores the ruling.

We've got skilled workers here who are on just 24p more than the minimum wage. Greencore Hull is one site of 16 owned by Greencore Group. If they win here, they will turn on other parts of the Group".

Unite support

Steve Miller, a member of Unite national executive and NSSN Yorkshire-Humberside executive was one of many from the local labour movement who turned up to support the workers.

He said: "Unite will back these workers to the hilt and explore every avenue to support the members at Greencore, and the NSSN can help spread the news to local and national activists".

I was pleased to invite Greencore workers to support the lobby of Hull City Council on 28 February. The attacks on the terms and conditions of Greencore workers in the private sector mirror the attacks being carried out on local government workers and others in the public sector. We need to make sure that we stay united.

The workers were good humoured but very determined. They all hope that this strike will win the concessions they want, but if management doesn't back down then in the words of one female worker: "Well be back for two days next time".

Mike Whale, Hull NUT

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