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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 April 2017

Weapons workers continue pension strike

Atomic Weapons Establishment strike rally, photo Unite the Union

Atomic Weapons Establishment strike rally, photo Unite the Union   (Click to enlarge)

Nick Chaffey, Southern Socialist Party secretary

Picket lines surrounded entrances at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston and Burghfield on 10 April as Unite the Union members voted emphatically to continue their pension strike.

The private contractors here get paid by the government. They 'make' their profits, £56 million last year, by cutting our pensions. What a way to treat workers after 30 years' service! This was the angry view of Unite members beginning five days of industrial action, including strikes and an overtime ban.

Unite members are continuing their fight to maintain their pension that was 'guaranteed' by the Thatcher government when AWE was privatised in the 1980s. The current scheme was recently ended. Unite members are now fighting to join the Ministry of Defence pension.

Having successfully reballoted with over 80% voting to strike, workers have planned eight days of strike action into May.

Unite is growing in strength at AWE, recruiting new members and winning a significant pay increase for apprentices who have also joined the pension strike.

Other workers are battling to defend their pensions at BMW and Royal Mail, with the government increasing the age of retirement.

Coordinated action by all affected workers would intensify pressure on employers and the government to step back from these attacks and ensure profit-hungry bosses don't use workers' pensions to boost their dividends!

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