ROB WILLIAMS, the Unite trade union convenor at the Linamar car components factory in Swansea, has been temporarily reinstated following his sacking by company bosses on 28 April.
Editors note: This article was written before the results of the negotiations with linamar were known. Rob’s sacking was confirmed and official action is planned. See this article: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/latest/7235
The employers had attempted to escort Rob (who is also a national committee member of the Socialist Party) off the premises immediately after informing him he had been sacked for “irretrievable breakdown of trust.” This catch-all charge, worthy of a Stalinist show trial, was rejected by Rob and his fellow workers who surrounded Rob’s union office after management called in the police to remove him.
With Rob staying put and Linamar night shift workers, fellow trade unionists from South Wales and Socialist Party members gathering in a solidarity protest outside the plant, management suddenly had a change of heart and reinstated him pending negotiations between the Unite union and the company on 6 May in London. The National Shop Stewards Network is supporting a lobby of these negotiations.
Many believe that Rob’s sacking is connected to his public support for the struggle of the sacked Visteon car workers in Belfast, Enfield and Basildon. (The Linamar plant was sold on from Visteon, which in turn was spun off from the Ford motor company. Linamar has recently announced 140 redundancies.)
The victimisation of Rob is a warning to the trade union movement. It shows that corporate employers, especially in times of economic recession, will try to sack active trade unionists whom they regard as ‘troublemakers’, ie representatives who stand up for their members. This is undoubtedly in order to push through job losses and attacks on workers’ terms and conditions.