Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1106/31507
From The Socialist newspaper, 21 October 2020
Optare workers strike over broken 'promise' to increase pay
Optare strikers in Yorkshire October 2020, photo Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)
Unite members at bus manufacturer Optare, in Sherburn in Elmet, on the outskirts of Leeds, took the first strike in a series of discontinuous 48-hour strikes starting on 15 October, alongside a continuous overtime ban.
During pay negotiations in 2019, workers had been given a promise of a decent pay rise, if the company was given three more months to put a package together. Instead, the company has broken this promise to workers who are already paid below the industry standard for their skilled work.
The situation has been aggravated further by the company bringing in increased numbers of contractors to work on lines, paid at a higher rate than the in-house workforce. A number of issues around health and safety during the Covid-19 pandemic have also arisen, with workers feeling the company is failing in its duty of care to keep them safe.
Despite heavy rainfall, workers kept up the picket for over 12 hours on the first day, with a confident mood, undoubtedly influenced by around 80% of all deliveries from suppliers coming into the plant refusing to cross the picket line.
Socialist Party members will be continuing to support the strike and seeking to build solidarity in the trade union movement locally.
Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party
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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.
- 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.
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In The Socialist 21 October 2020:
Health before profit - Work or full pay
Wales 'firebreak' lockdown fails to protect workers
Liverpool lockdown: suspicion and anger
Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns
Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger
Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary
Nigeria protests: 'This movement needs to fight the whole rotten capitalist system'
Horrific murder in Paris: fight intolerance and racism!
South Africa: Mass day of action for permanent jobs and a living wage
Tories reduce winter homeless funding: reverse the cuts,use the empty homes!
World capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now
Test and Trace U-turn on stopping local case reporting
Oxbridge gets private Covid tests: pool resources to test us all!
Millennials disillusioned with 'democracy'
Under the microscope
RMT: Programme to fight redundancies and cuts
Action on Covid transmission in schools now
FCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith
Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'
Solidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York
Students: Give us our money back
Fight for your future at the online rally
Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack
Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?
Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger
Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack
Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process
Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!
Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Beware the billionaires bearing gifts
Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"
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