Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5560
Fighting to save jobs
OVER 100 workers answered the call with just 18 hours notice to a Friday lunchtime rally outside clothes manufacturer Burberry's in Treorchy to begin the fight back to save the 300 jobs threatened by Burberry's announcement of closure of the plant.
Dave Reid and Socialist Party Wales members
They had been encouraged by the successful Socialist Party meeting in Treorchy the night before attended by 70. At the meeting a Socialist Party member explained how the Socialist Party could bring support but the decision to fight rested with the workforce. She outlined what a fight to save the plant would entail. It was not the easy road but it was the only way to save jobs in the community already hard hit by job losses over the previous 20 years.
One or two workers, including a non-union member, were sceptical about whether they could save the plant and maybe put their redundancy payments in jeopardy. But the majority of workers were adamant.
One worker explained how it was not their job to sell: "I have always said that my job is a chair and I am keeping it for the future of our young people". She explained that the best way to ensure that redundancy payments were increased was through fighting back, as the Dura workers had shown in Llanelli. (See the socialist issue 453.)
Workers in the Burberry plants in Rotherham and Castleford support Treorchy and have told management they could transfer work back to Treorchy from their own plants. Trade unionists from other unions including NUM, PCS, ASLEF, USDAW and TGWU brought messages of support to the Burberry workers and promised to raise support in the wider trade union movement.
The attendance at the Socialist Party meeting was impressive because a letter was delivered to every GMB member instructing them not to attend the meeting and members were warned that their redundancy payments could be jeopardised if they did.
There was some questioning at the meeting as to how committed the union leaders were to saving their jobs. One of the sceptics, the only non-union member at the meeting, told the workers that they should not "rock the boat". "What boat?!" exclaimed one worker. Workers said "We are the union and we will force them to fight".
Those who did attend reported the meeting in work the following day. Despite buses leaving to take people home, over 100 attended the factory gate rally. The Friday rallies will now be a regular fixture as the fight to save the plant builds.
In The Socialist 21 September 2006:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth and Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis