Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1074/30296
From The Socialist newspaper, 19 February 2020
Peterborough food workers picket and protest against pay changes
Pioneer Foods is one of Britain's biggest cereal manufacturers (Click to enlarge)
Steve Cawley, Peterborough Socialist Party and Unite Community branch secretary
There was a noisy demonstration outside Peterborough's Pioneer Foods site on the Orton Southgate industrial estate for two hours on 11 February. About 25 demonstrators who defied the cold, rain and hail were mainly off-duty Unite members at Pioneer but also some Peterborough Unite Community members and other Unite members.
We held placards explaining the grievance over the company's proposal to vary the previously set monthly pay - so in the future pay would be according to changing shift patterns. This could result in a difference of several hundred pounds in monthly pay, especially for any couples both working for Pioneer. As some of our placards said "Find me a landlord who will allow me to pay a different rent each month!"
We had a sound system with an appropriate medley - You can't get me, I'm part of the union, the Red Flag and the Internationale and so on. This enabled a bit of dancing as an anti-freeze mechanism.
Many commercial vehicles passing tooted in support, including some with international cargo. Other workers on their breaks nearby came to find out about the protest and give support, including the chair of the local Labour Party. The Pioneer Foods Group is a cereal manufacturer with sites in the UK and South Africa and prides itself in its annual reports as having a continuous campaign for efficiency (presumably mainly at the expense of its workforce).
Peterborough has a growing reputation as a low-pay city. Pioneer employs many workers from eastern Europe who have evidently now decided that they need to act collectively if they are to avoid unsustainable pay patterns.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 19 February 2020:
What we think
Javid's departure foreshadows deeper Tory divisions
Socialist Party news and analysis
Cuts and climate change cause floods
'Roses are red, violets are blue, BP and Shell - we're coming for you'
Socialist Students says democratise the climate strike movement
International socialist news and analysis
Coronavirus crisis shakes Chinese regime
Yemen's desperate civil war fuelled by imperialism and regional powers
Couldn't pay, wouldn't pay, didn't pay: the battle to defeat the poll tax
Workplace news and analysis
UCU: Striking to fight education cuts and marketisation
CWU: Build for a massive Yes vote in Royal Mail
Unite union executive council elections
Sixth-form strikers stand firm for increased funding
Peterborough food workers picket and protest
Hackney parking wardens strike for £15 an hour
East London anti-academy strikes escalate
Support Clive Walder
London bus rep dismissal update
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist: Ideas to change society
Keep the pressure on to save Royal Glam A&E
Stop Newham Labour's cuts and gentrification
Labour Party and trans rights
Brilliant Korean film exposes class inequality
The Socialist 19 February 2020 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook