Flogas picket Photo: Swansea Socialist Party
Flogas picket Photo: Swansea Socialist Party

Gareth Bromhall , Swansea and West Wales Socialist Party, Swansea Trades Council, and GMB rep

Workers at Flogas, a bottled gas supplier, in Llandarcy near Swansea embarked on five days of strike action from 30 October. Anger over pay, redundancies and management refusing to negotiate has resulted in around 20 GMB union members at the site walking out.

Members of the Socialist Party involved in Swansea Trades Council attended the picket line to bring solidarity and support, where we received a warm reception, despite the extreme weather from Storm Ciarán.

Workers are demanding a pay rise after two years of unprecedented inflation, and for equal pay with their colleagues in England who, despite doing the same work, are paid £4 to £5 per hour more.

They described the flagrant union-busting techniques that the company has employed, including recently announced redundancies and a refusal to budge on their initial pay offer.

The workers, some of whom have been employed for decades, spoke fondly of working for British Gas in the past, in a nationalised industry, and laid out the drive to the bottom of pay and conditions since the privatisation of utilities like domestic gas.

It’s clear that utilities and the associated infrastructure need to be renationalised, under democratic workers’ control and management, as part of a wider planned economy, to meet the needs of society, and to provide decent, secure and safe work for those employed in the industry.