Printers in Basingstoke defy bullying management

Gavin Marsh, Southampton Socialist Party

As reported in last week’s Socialist, printworkers at Wyndeham Impact in Basingstoke are now in their twentieth week of industrial action.

This is over management’s refusal to negotiate the reinstatement of pay following a pay cut, the issue of men arbitrarily made redundant and the unilateral withdrawal of terms and conditions.

When we arrived at the picket line we discovered that a meeting was actually taking place between unions and management, not to address any of the issues mentioned above but to discuss redundancy terms and conditions!

Pickets told us: “A few years ago, when we agreed to take a temporary pay cut and help the company the manager put his hand on his heart and called us a great workforce. As long as we are giving he’s happy. But now we are ‘useless’ and ‘rubbish’.”

“All we are asking for is what is entitled to us and we are all really angry about the situation. We are even prepared to negotiate on the lost wages but he just doesn’t want to know.”

It is absolutely ridiculous that a profitable company with an excellent reputation (down to the efforts of the workforce and their pride in producing high quality work) is talking about shutting up shop.

And there certainly isn’t a glut of printing jobs in the region, though one worker was so stressed by the working environment that he thought that redundancy would be a preferable option.

One picket commented: “I used to brag about working here, the working conditions were good and we had a great team but now it has all changed.

“Not only has he wrecked the good feeling here but he has actually lost us customers, people can’t stand his attitude.”