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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2009

Stead McAlpin

Fury at John Lewis' trickery

THE SIXTY workers in Carlisle sacked by textile and dyeing company Stead McAlpin see the similarities of their situation to that of sacked Visteon workers. It's as if employers had a manual advising them to sell parts of the company when recession looms, just to strip workers of their redundancy entitlements.

Elaine Brunskill

Stead McAlpin's parent company Apex recently bought the firm from John Lewis Partnership, who had assured workers that all benefits, including enhanced redundancy payments, would be honoured.

I spoke to sacked workers staging a protest vigil at the Carlisle plant. Redundant workers told me how they felt conned by John Lewis. Chris Oats said he felt "anger, bitterness and depression. If we had the proper redundancy that John Lewis promised, we'd have had a bit behind us. I'm even owed wages which I've been told I'll have to apply for."

Chris explained that when the 'partnership' had plans to sell, they called consultation meetings. Chris said: "We were textile workers up against professionals. I asked the personnel head: If we are all co-owners, what part of the business do we own? He replied: Tough decisions have to be made."

Carolyn Benn said she had worked at the factory for 28 years, only to be herded into a room "by folk we'd never seen in our lives and told we were finished".

Workers were split into two groups and told that one group would stay and the remaining sixty be finished. Three workers weren't on either list. "We were taken upstairs to see Pistol Pete [Apex operations manager] to see if we were staying or going - he just waved his hand dismissively and said No, they go." Carolyn also said: "The factory used to be like an extended family - but we didn't even get time to say goodbye."

One rule for them...

Workers who were kept on also feel stunned. On the day of the sackings, one of those kept on told the administrator he would look for a new job. Despite his co-workers being given minutes to get out of the factory, the worker was told he would have to give them six months (contracted) notice!

Those left have since been told they only have the coming month's wage guaranteed.

On Friday 17 April, sacked Stead McAlpin workers will be staging a protest outside John Lewis's flagship shop in Oxford Street followed by the HQ.

Please send messages of support to: pepperami@mcdermott08.plus.com

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In The Socialist 15 April 2009:

MPs' snouts in the expenses trough


Stop the slaughter of Tamils

Sri Lanka: Stop the war - fight for democratic rights

Stop the war in Sri Lanka: Protest at India House


Socialist Party election campaign

European elections: Why No2EU?


Socialist Party workplace news

Visteon workers angry and determined

National Union of Teachers conference: Battle on workload begins

London Underground: Set a new strike date

Fury at John Lewis' trickery

Preparing to fight probation meltdown


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs: What next to build the campaign?


Marxist analysis: history

The Spanish Civil War: Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory


Socialist Party editorial

Deceptive denigration of Lindsey strike


Socialist Party campaigns

G20 Summit death: Bring the cops to account

Council manoeuvres in Lewisham hit school children

Parents occupy schools in Glasgow to stop closures

Fast news


International socialist news and analysis

Thailand: Battles erupt on the streets of Bangkok

Moldova: Thousands storm parliament buildings as economic crisis worsens


Sport

Rugby league: In League with big business?


 

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Related links:

Carlisle:

triangleCarlisle debate - socialism or social democracy?

triangleCarlisle: Alternative Burns night

triangleCarlisle debate: The way forward - Socialism or Social Democracy?

triangleOsborne evades Carlisle socialists

triangleCarlisle socialists campaign against Universal Credit

John Lewis:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleJohn Lewis cleaners strike for a living wage

triangleConned by John Lewis

Textile:

triangleYeadon Mill strike 1913

triangleJohn Lewis economy: another fantasy from Corporal Clegg

triangleManningham Mills 1890-1891: A strike that changed Britain's unions

Protest:

triangleBradford protests against kids' service cuts

triangleProtesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime

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