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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 November 2009

Stoke

Axiom railworkers' strike remains solid

After four 24-hour strikes at Axiom in Stoke, the workforce, Unite members, has become even more determined to win this dispute for a decent pay increase.

Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party

The 90 workers at the Stoke site of Axiom, who provide rolling stock for rail companies, are angry because they are being paid less than workers at other Axiom sites. To add insult to injury they have been 'offered' a pay freeze. There is also much anger about the way in which Axiom bosses are trying to bully workers over things like sick pay.

Axiom bosses have so far refused to speak to Unite but, make no mistake, they have been rocked by this strike - the first at the Stoke site in the 100 years of its existence!

In reality, management expected them to roll over and just accept their attacks on pay and conditions.

On the picket line workers are getting fantastic support from passing drivers honking their horns.

Some have stopped to hand over donations to the strike fund. Many lorry drivers and some agency workers, recruited by Axiom bosses to scab on the strike, have refused to cross the picket line.

Plans are in place to continue a series of one-day strikes and work to rule over the next three months but strikers are already discussing ways of escalating the action.

Unite workers also attended last week's meeting of Stoke Socialist Party to discuss how we can help to build support for the strike and some ideas were agreed.

Axiom management, like many other bosses across Britain in both public and private sectors, are trying to use the economic crisis and the fear created by growing mass unemployment as an opportunity to sack workers, drive down pay and conditions and attack the rights of union reps to represent their members.

But workers all over Britain are increasingly asking: "Why should we pay for a crisis created by the bosses and bankers?"

Many, like Axiom workers, are fighting back and some important victories have already been won.

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