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Eleven Months On Strike - Sacked Electricians Fight On
ELECTRICIANS SACKED by DAF Electrical remain on strike, nearly a year after they walked out in defence of their union reps. DAF attempted to break the union but has dismally failed.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester
The strikers have sacrificed well over £130,000 in lost pay but are determined to continue their dispute in defence of genuine fighting trade unionism.
With enormous support from the labour movement they have battled the judicial system, the council and the union bureaucracy to get justice. Members of Manchester Socialist Party spoke to Steve Acheson, DAF convenor and EPIU branch secretary, and asked how the dispute is developing.
Steve told us:
"We're 48 weeks into the dispute now and the only thing that can beat us is if they run out of somewhere for us to picket. We've been told that this job at the courts will be over on 6 May but we've got an option of going to picket Crown House's office. Or if we can get the funding, going to the Royal Dental Hospital in London where DAF and Crown House are operating.
"The TGWU at the moment has allowed us to reintroduce a hardship appeal (which they suspended in December). The hardship fund we were getting, of £50 a week, we've not had that yet. We got £900 off our own union as three weeks back pay but at the moment we're 12 weeks behind with the other [TGWU fund].
"The ranks are still supporting us as they have from day one in many unions. I will say the four unions that've been most distant in this dispute are the construction unions - GMB, UCATT, TGWU and Amicus.
"We've got to build on the rank and file. We've made some great links - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Preston, Liverpool and London especially. These people have made sure we've been able to maintain the strike.
"We've attended meetings all over the country. We're prepared to go to meetings even after this dispute is long over to ensure that these links are maintained for future disputes."
"[On the Liverpool initiative for a new workers' party] I can't disagree with it because we've collected 37,000 signatures and many people have come to us with their own experiences of being let down or sold out... I think there's thousands upon thousands looking for some kind of alternative."
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