Sulzer Pumps strike. Photo: Iain Dalton
Sulzer Pumps strike. Photo: Iain Dalton

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Unite members at Sulzer pumps were out in force for the first of a series of Friday strikes until 7 July, called in their dispute over pay with the company. Making high-performance pumps, including for oil rigs, the Leeds site alone is projected to bring in over £20 million in profit this year.

Despite this, the company is only offering a below-inflation 6.5% pay increase and a £275 lump sum. Meanwhile RPI inflation is above 11%.

As with many other workplaces, lots of workers had not been on strike before, with the last strike at Sulzer being in the 1980s. Last year the workforce came close to taking strike action over pay, but a further year into the cost-of-living crisis, workers are determined to win a better pay offer.

As part of the ‘Back to the Workplace’ policy of Sharon Graham, the workplace now has its own branch. They had given their support to striking ambulance workers across the road from the factory, and now ambulances tooted support at the Sulzer picket line.