Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/558/6661
The Socialist 26 November 2008 |
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Manchester: No redundancies at IMI!
At IMI Scott (IMI) in South Manchester, a factory specialising in the manufacture of electrical wiring, four of the twenty five shop floor workers have been made redundant due to a lack of orders.
Wythenshawe and Sale Socialist Party members
This may be nothing unique in the current economic climate. But those made redundant include both of the shop stewards, one of whom, Trevor Prior, is a Socialist Party member and our branch treasurer/fighting fund organiser.
For over twenty years IMI has had a recognition agreement with the TGWU union (now Unite) and has paid little or no regard to it following the election/appointment of a series of ineffective, management-backed shop stewards.
Workers at IMI had endured many years of paying their union subs and getting little in return and decided it was time for a change. Aware of Trevor's fighting track record in his previous union role in the CWU at Royal Mail, they asked him if he would take on the shop steward's job.
Trevor has raised the profile of the union at IMI, forcing management to consult on collective issues. He has begun to establish a pay negotiating team - the pay deal has been imposed for many years on a take it or leave it basis without union consultation.
And he has fought to re-establish the shop steward's seat on the company's works council.
As soon as the announcement was made that redundancies were being proposed, the union team approached management with a number of counterproposals aimed at saving the jobs of those under threat. These were dismissed out of hand by IMI management.
Trevor explains: "The entire 'consultation' process was a joke... when we got into the meeting they made it clear that there was plenty that was not negotiable and that protecting their perks was more important than discussing ways to secure the livelihoods of the workforce. They even appointed a non-union employee representative and brought him into the meetings in an attempt to undermine the union's bargaining position.
"Any suggestion that a reduced order book and workload must require fewer managers was met with derision...
"I'm defending shop floor jobs against capitalist greed in a workplace where the chief executive's salary was £656,000 last year (excluding bonuses)."
In a community where jobs are scarce and low pay is the norm this cannot be allowed. The Socialist Party branches in Manchester will actively campaign for the reinstatement of Trevor and his sub rep together with the other two workers, one of whom had just joined the union.
The North West shop stewards network and the Manchester trades union council have agreed to join our campaign. Please send protests to the operations director at IMI: email@example.com and copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. Messages of support can also be sent to Trevor's email address (above).