Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1013/28048
The Socialist 10 October 2018 |
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Cable makers strike against real-terms pay cut
Prysmian cable workers on strike in Eastleigh, 26.9.18, photo by Declan Clune (Click to enlarge)
Declan Clune, Southampton Socialist Party
At midnight on 26 September, staff at cable manufacturer Prysmian in Eastleigh downed tools. The 24-hour strike was the first of four.
After years of below-inflation pay 'rises', Prysmian bosses produced another derisory pay rise offer of 2%. Even the conservative 'CPI' inflation rate currently stands at 2.7%
General union Unite balloted members for action to get a better deal. The result was 83% backing strikes, and 96% backing industrial action short of strike.
Historically, this industry was a huge employer and very important for the local economy. Many worked for tyre maker Pirelli, which sold off its cable division in 2005, renamed Prysmian.
I spoke to strikers who had been employed from that time - some had 40 years' experience! They have seen a move from full-time, permanent staff to casual, agency workers. Typical divide-and-rule tactics that result in poorer working conditions.
"This company is brutal," were the words of one picket describing management's approach to workers. "We held talks with management, and we were positive a fair deal was possible and a deal struck."
Unfortunately, the bosses ended that consultation by refusing to improve on their real-terms pay cut offer, leading to this strike. Workers struck again on 3 October, with a strike and demonstration planned for 10 October, and another strike on 17 October.