Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/559/6681
Workers at Appledore shipyard in North Devon have accepted an offer from Babcock Marine management, ending their industrial action. Among other grievances, the strike action was concerned with pay, which was £60-£80 less per week than Devonport workers in the same company doing equivalent jobs. The deal sees a 12% wage increase over two years. The majority of other demands put forward by the unions (GMB and Unite) were accepted by management.
Throughout the dispute, Babcock Marine had attempted to bully and threaten the workforce into submission, with threats of closure and downsizing.
An announcement of job cuts at the company's Devonport operation was made, and middle managers were threatened with the sack if they joined in the action.
Unfortunately for Babcock, the news of their record profits had to be released at this important time also!
Despite all that the company threw at the workers, they held firm, with large numbers on picket lines and 100% of engineering staff out. Although they did not achieve parity with their Plymouth counterparts, they did achieve a significant above-inflation pay increase at a time of insecurity and increasing redundancies and cuts in working hours.
They showed that unity in action, even in the current climate, will get results, even with only a few days of strike action.
Both unions on site worked together, and they received the support and solidarity of their fellow workers at other shipyards, as well as the Socialist Party.
Jim Lowe, North Devon Socialist Party
In The Socialist 3 December 2008:
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news