Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/172/7915
Peugeot workers say: "Reclaim the union"
PEUGEOT MANAGEMENT have made their third 'final' offer to workers at the Ryton plant, near Coventry. They have made some concessions in their attempt to speed up production and extract more and more from the workforce, clearly because of the workers' willingness to take action.
This offer is being put to the ballot, with the result to be announced after we go to press.
Many workers are angry at the company and at the union for continually putting management's position. A group is campaigning within the factory as Reclaim Our Union, producing a bulletin called "Trackworker" from which these extracts are taken:
"So much for the union telling us that there was nothing else on offer...We must keep up the pressure, and push for an acceptable alternative proposal, not accept a company bribe of a mere £100.
"The shorter working time negotiations have been farcical. From an initial recommendation to accept the company's proposals, to the now familiar, ballot, ballot and re-ballot until the company gets its way. We call for a 'No' vote in the ballot and a total rejection of the current proposals.
"Peugeot who made over £454 million profit last year, wants to buy us off for only £30,000. Less than the price of four cars or eight minutes production!
"Reclaim our Union demands that during any negotiations there must be full reports to regular gang meetings and full minutes produced so that we know what's going on. We can't ever have a situation where our views are not fully represented to the company or to the public and the union remains unaccountable.
"We demand a union which listens to the shop floor, not just the officials and a stewards' committee and convenors who are willing to stand up to the officials and force them to fight for our demands. We want the regular re-election of union officials to keep them accountable to those they represent and union officials to be paid no more than the average wage of the workers they represent.
"The'Trackworker' is produced by growing numbers of Ryton workers who feel our union is not standing up for us. Reclaim our Union: c/o PO Box 121, Coventry, CV1 5DA. "
The Socialist Party supports those workers and whatever the outcome of the latest ballot they will continue to build support for accountable union representation. Many workers are so disgusted with the negotiations, the third 'final offer' might be accepted. But that is not the end of the fight to reclaim the union. Pay talks are due in the autumn.
In The Socialist 8 September 2000: