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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/30503

Posted on 31 March 2020 at 11:58 GMT

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

Workers risk health, bosses protect wealth

A plastic machinist, photo Keith Hayes

A plastic machinist, photo Keith Hayes   (Click to enlarge)

Tessa Warrington, Leicester Socialist Party

Key workers continue to put themselves at risk. The absolute least we should expect is the same level of sacrifice from the bosses.

The Socialist has previously reported the lack of health and safety at Nylacast Engineering Plastic Solutions in Leicester (see 'Worker's death could happen again at Leicester plastic factory').

In 2018, a worker, Tarsem Singh, died from an industrial accident. The judge in the court case described it as "an accident waiting to happen".

Despite being hit with a 300,000 fine, the firm has learnt nothing. A Nylacast worker contacted the Socialist to report further negligence from the company in response to Covid-19.

Workers who 'choose' to stay at home, will only receive statutory sick pay. To receive only 80% of their wage, workers must be given permission to self-isolate by the company.

Nylacast produces metal and nylon materials for food, drink and pharmaceutical manufacturers, among other products. The company brags that it has seen "no changes to our business and services" and "zero impact to our production and delivery".

It claims 'key workplace' status in Leicester, despite having to close its Pennsylvania facility in the US.

Nylacast claims "zero cases of colleagues affected by coronavirus". How can it tell? Not because staff are being tested. No, by using the incontrovertible medical practice of checking workers' temperatures with thermal cameras!

The Socialist's whistleblower at Nylacast says workers are still coming in with colds and coughs, and have little choice but to work in close quarters with each other.

Nylacast made a 4.7 million profit in 2018, almost 9,000 from each employee. It spent an undisclosed amount acquiring another company, Viva Nylons, mid-lockdown.

The company has reportedly trumpeted its record 'only' one workplace death. One death is too many. Should health and safety concerns continue to play second fiddle to profit, then this number could easily rise.

The evidence speaks against the bosses changing their ways. Across the world workers are realising just how reliant the bosses' system is on their labour and the immense power they have in withdrawing it, through the growing number of walkouts over health and safety.

Any industry considered key, or with disdain for health and safety, should be nationalised under democratic workers' control and management - with a guarantee of full pay for all workers in self-isolation.

Nylacast workers should unite together, collectively discuss their concerns and democratically decide on action to fight to protect their income, their health and their families.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 31 March 2020 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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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.
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