Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/571/7060
Airwave Solutions: Striking against job cuts
Dozens of workers joined the picket line in the middle of the Midlands countryside at Airwave Solutions on 13 March in a dispute over job cuts. Most of the CWU members had never been on strike before, but they understood the need to take action and to turn up at the picket line to support their colleagues.
A CWU member
When talks broke down, the company was still intent on making two employees redundant. This is despite their healthy financial results and recent acknowledgement of new key contracts.
The mood was bouncy, as young workers waived their CWU placards at passing traffic to loud hoots of support. Management sent security onto the picket line, apparently to stop intimidation and ensure safety. This was clearly to intimidate the strikers but it was to no avail. The strike was overwhelmingly supported by the members with managers commenting as they crossed the line that they wished their own union Connect had called for action too. On leaving, one manager commented that the office was like the Marie Celeste.
One striker said it was the first time she had taken strike action but she was angered by management's incompetence.
New shifts joined the picket throughout the day with a night shift worker making the point that, whilst he had accepted voluntary redundancy himself, he felt it important to turn up to show solidarity with his colleagues who were less fortunate than him.
The internationale boomed out from the back of his van as he made hot teas for all strikers. He pointed out that he had spent most of his life with his work colleagues and really regretted that it had come to this.
Whilst many struggling companies are cutting jobs this cannot be used as the excuse by Airwave. They have recruited as many workers in the past twelve months as they are looking to make redundant which brings into question their ability to manage.
On 15 March, management agreed to further talks with the CWU. Another day's strike was due to take place on 16 March. This was postponed whilst talks take place.
The greed and incompetence of the employers cannot be overstated in this dispute. If Airwave, which is a subsidiary of Macquarie, cannot run the network then it should be taken into public ownership.
In The Socialist 19 March 2009:
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